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THE GREAT BOER WAR. Arthur Conan DoyU. 


SPURGEON'S SERMONS. Sir W. Robertson Nico 11, LL.D. 
SIR FRANK LOCKWOOD. Autrustine Birreil, K.C, M.P. 







Sir George O. Trevelyatt, Bart, 
WHAT I SAW IN RUSSIA. Hon. Maurice Baring. 



VOYAGIC OF I'HE " DISCOVERY."— I. & II. Captain Scott. 
FELICriY IN FRANCE. Constance E. Maud. 

PO V !•: R [• Y. B. Seelwhm Rowntree. 


Commander E. Hamilton Currey, R.N. 
FAMOUS MODERN BAIILES. A. Milliard Atteridge. 



CHAIN OR CHAFF? A. Chichele Flo^vden. 

LIFE AT I'HR ZOO. C.J.Cornish. 

THE FOUR M I-: N . Hilaire Be Hoc. 



A REAPING. F. /. Benson. 

isooo MILF':s IN A KK'TCH. Captain R. du Baty. 

KNOWN TO THE POLICE. Thomas Holmes. 

THE STORY OF MY STRUGGLES. Armi: ius Vamhfry. 

THF, PANAMA CANAL. /. Saxon Mills. 

THE ISLAND. Richard Uliiteing. 

THE RIVER WAR. Winston Churchill. 


Mrs. Le Blond. 

Edited by Julius West. 
A TRAMP'S SKETCHES. Stephen Graham. 

THE CABIN. Stewart E. White. 

RED FOX. Charles G. D. Roberts. 

THE GREAT ARMADA. Richard Hale. 


Mrs. Aubrey Le Blond. 
Etc., etc. 

Others to follow. 

Major-Gen ERAL Sir Bindon Blood, K.C.B. 
Commanding Malakand Field Force. 






"They (Frontier Wars) are but the surf that marks the 
edge and the advance oi the wave of civilisation." 

Lord Salisbcry, Guildhall, 1892 




Cheap Edition April igi6 


Major-General Sir BINDON BLOOD, K.C.B. 


" According to the fair play of the world, 
Let me have audience." 

" King John," Act v., So. 2. 


On general grounds I deprecate prefaces. I have 
always thought that if an author cannot make friends 
with the reader, and explain his objects, in two or three 
hundred pages, he is not likely to do so in fifty Hnes. 
And yet the temptation of speaking a few words behind 
the scenes, as it were, is so strong that few writers are 
able to resist it. I shall not try. 

While I was attached to the Malakand Field Force I 
wrote a series of letters for the London Daily Telegraph, 
The favourable manner in which these letters were re- 
ceived, encouraged me to attempt a more substantial 
work. This volume is the result. 

The original letters have been broken up, and I have 
freely availed myself of all passages, phrases, and facts, 
that seemed appropriate. The views they contained 
have not been altered, though several opinions and 
expressions, which seemed mild in the invigorating 
atmosphere of a camp, have been modified, to suit the 
more temperate climate of peace. . 

viii PREFACE. 

I have to thank many gallant officers for the assist- 
ance they have given me in the collection of material. 
They have all asked me not to mention their names, 
but to accede to this request would be to rob the story 
of the Malakand Field Force of all its bravest deeds 
and finest characters. 

The book does not pretend to deal with the com- 
plications of the frontier question, nor to present a 
complete summary of its phases and features. In the 
opening chapter I have tried to describe the general 
character of the numerous and powerful tribes of the 
Indian Frontier. In the last chapter I have attempted 
to apply the intelligence of a plain man to the vast 
mass of expert evidence, which on this subject is so 
great that it baffles memory and exhausts patience. 
The rest is narrative, and in it I have only desired to 
show the reader what it looked like. 

As I have not been able to describe in the text all 
the instances of conduct and courage which occurred, 
I have included in an appendix the official despatches. 

The impartial critic will at least admit that I have 
not insulted the British public by writing a party 
pamphlet on a great Imperial question. I have re- 
corded the facts as they occurred, and the impressions 
as they arose, without attempting to make a case 


against any person or any policy. Indeed, I fear that 
assailing none, I may have offended all. Neutrality 
may degenerate into an ignominious isolation. An 
honest and unprejudiced attempt to discern the truth 
is my sole defence, as the good opinion of the reader 
has been throughout my chief aspiration, and can be 
in the end my only support. 

Winston S. Churchill. 

Cavalry Barracks, 
Bangalore, 30^/2 December, 1897. 



I. The Theatre of War ... 19 

The Scenery — The Flora and Fauna — The 
People— Their Weapons— Their Disposi- 
tion—The Ambitious Pathan— Quarrels 
with the British— Their Honour— A Re- 
deeming Feature — The Darker Side — The 
Other Point of View — The Scale of the 
Work— Its Scope— Its Objects. 

II. The Malakand Camps ... 33 

Nowshera — The Road to the Malakand — At 
the Top of the Pass — The Camp — Life on 
the Frontier — The Swat Valley — The 
Chitral Road— The Retention of Chitral. ■ 

III. The Outbreak 54 

The Causes — Prosperity — The Undercurrent 
— ^The Means — The Miracles — Rumours 
of War — Preparations — The Movable Col- 
umn — The Storm Bursts. 

IV. The Attack on the Malakand . 67 

The Surprise — ^The Defence of the Defile — 
" Rattray's Sikhs "—The Central Posi- 
tion — The Fight for the Quarter Guard — 
Lieutenant Costello, V.C. — Repulse of the 
Enemy — Casualties — Evacuation of the 
North Camp — Approach of Reinforce- 
ments — the Night of the 27th — ^The Serai 
— Lieutenant Climo's Counter Attack — 
Merciful Courage — The Night of the 29th 
— ^The Repulse of the Enemy — Casualties. 



V. The Relief of Chakdara . . 97 

The Force of Circumstances — Formation of 
the Malakand Field Force — Sir Bindon 
Blood — Chakdara in Danger — First At- 
tempt to Relieve Chakdara — Arrival of 
the General — His Dispositions — The 
Key of the Position — The Morning of 
the 2nd of August — Rout of the Enemy 
— The Cavalry Pursuit — Vengeance — 
Chakdara Relieved — Casualties. 

VI. The Defence of Chakdara . 114 

The Fort— The Warning— A Gallop Home 
— The First Attack — The Cavaky 
Dash — Continued Assaults — The Signal 
Tov/er — Exhaustion of the Defenders — 
Sepoy Prem Singh — Critical Situation 
— The Urgent Appeal — The Final At- 
tack — The Cavalry to the Rescue — A 
Finish in Style — The Casualties. 

VIL The Gate of Swat . . . 132 

Formation of the 3rd Brigade — The 
Marks of War — Submission of the 
Lower Swatis — The Special Force — 
The Action of Landakai — The Artil- 
lery Preparation — The Flank Attack 
— Capture of the Ridge — Pursuit — A 
Disastrous Incident — A Gallant Feat 
of Arms — ^The Victoria Cross — Knights 
of the Sword and Pen— Buddhist Re- 
mains — The Light of Other Days — 
Buner — Return of the Troops. 



VIII. The Advance against the Moh- 

MANDS 153 

Causes of the Expedition — Summary of 
the Action of Shabkadr — The Forces 
Employed — General Plan of the Opera- 
tions — Advance of the Malakand Field 
Force — The Passage of the Panjkora — 
Political Aspect of the Country. 

IX. Reconnaissance .... 173 

The Jandul Valley— The Seven Khans- 
Frontier Diplomacy — B^rwa — An 
Afghan Napoleon — Unpractical Reflec- 
tions — Under the Chenars — The Arms 
Question — Its Significance — The Utman 
Khel Passes — A Virgin Valley — A Suc- 
cessful '• Bluff "—The Camp at Night. 

X. The March to NXwagai . . 190 

March to Shumshuk — The First Shot — 
The Koh-i-Mohr— The Rambat Pass— 
The Watelai Valley — Night of the 14th 
of September — The Camp at In^yat 

XL The Action of the Mamund 

Valley, i6th September . 209 

The Cavalry Skirmish — The Advance on 
Shahi-Tangi— The Counter Attack- 
Retirement down the Spur — Repulse 
of the Enemy — Second Attack and 
Capture of Shahi-Tangi — Darkness — 
The Guides to the Rescue — The Rear- 
guard—The Night. 



XII. At InAyat Kila . . . .231 

The Relief of BUot— The Story of the 
Night — Rest and Recuperation — Do- 
modoloh — Zagai — Negotiations for 
Peace — The Situation. 

XIII. Nawagai 254 

" The Light of Asia "—The Strategic Situ- 
ation — Decision of the General — Rival 
Inducements — Alarums and Excursions 
—The Night Attack— The Casualties- 
Dismay of the Tribes — The Mohmand 
Field Force — Sir Pertab Singh — Polo 
as an Imperial Factor — Departure of 
the 3rd Brigade. 

XIV. Back to the Mamund Valley 267 

Dulce Domum — Reorganisation — The 
Peace Negotiations — Renewal of Hos- 
tilities — Destruction — Some Misconcep- 
tions — The Attack upon Agrah — The 
Royal West Kent — A Soldier's Fate — 
The Artillery — The Casualties — Rein- 
forcements — Affair of 3rd October — 
The loth Field Battery— The Com- 
pensations of War. 

XV. The Work of the Cavalry . 290 

Progress of the Negotiations — Cavalry 
Skirmish, 6th October — General Resumi 
of Cavalry Work throughout the Cam- 
paign — The Neglect of British Cavalry 
—Departure of the R.W.K.— Health of 
British Infantry — J^r, 9th October — 
" Sniping " — A Typical Night — Across 
the Panjkora. 



XVT Submission 306 

Negotiations with the M^munds — Sur- 
render of Rifles — The Durbar — The 
Political Officers — The Last of 
Inayat Kila — Matashah — Submission 
of the Salarzais — The Sikh and the 
Pathan : A Comparison — The Re- 
turn to Malakand. 

XVII. Military Observations . . 321 

Transport — Camps — Attacks — Retire- 
ments — Employment of Artillery — 
Signalling— The Dum-Dum Bullet— 
The MiUtary Problem — The Yoiing 
Soldier — Short Service — The Courage 
of the Soldier. 

XVIII. AND LAST. The Riddle of 

THE Frontier . . . 342 

The Question— The " Forward Policy " 
— Its Present Results — What might 
have been — Actuality — The Respon- 
sibiUty — At Sea — The Course — Silver 
V. Steel — Looking Backward — The 

APPENDIX. Extracts from Official 

Despatches .... 359 


Major-General Sir Bindon Blood, K.C.B., 
Commanding Malakand Field Force 


1. Map of N.W. Frontier of India, showing 

the Theatre of the War . facing page 19 

2. Sketch of the Malakand Camps . . 69 

3. Rough Sketch of the Cavalry Action of 

ist August 99 

4. Sketch of the Mkmund Valley — with 

Plan of the Action of the 1 6th Sep- 
tember . . . . . .221 

5. Map of the Operations in Bajaur 

facing page 264 

6. Rough Sketch explaining the Attack 

upon Agrah, 30th September . .277 




The Ghilzaie chief wrote answer : " Our paths are narrow and 

The sun burns fierce in the valleys, and the snow-fed streams run 

deep ; 

So a stranger needs safe escort, and the oath of a valiant friend." 
" The Amir's Message," Sir A. Lyall. 

The Scenery — The Flora and Fauna — The People — 
Their Weapons — Their Disposition — The Ambi- 
tious Pathan — Quarrels with the British — Their 
Honour — A Redeeming Feature — The Darker 
Side — The Other Point of View — The Scale of the 
Work — Its Scope — Its Objects. 

ALL along the north and north-west frontiers of 
x\ India lie the Himalayas, the greatest disturbance 
of the earth's surface that the convulsions of chaotic 
periods have produced. Nearly four hundred miles 
in breadth and more than sixteen hundred in length, 
this mountainous region divides the great plains of 
the south from those of Central Asia, and parts as 



a channel separates opposing shores, the Eastern 
Empire of Great Britain from that of Russia. The 
western end of this tumult of ground is formed by 
the peaks of the Hindu Kush, to the south of which 
is the scene of the story these pages contain. The 
Himalayas are not a line, but a great country of 
mountains. By one who stands on some lofty pass 
or commanding point in Dir, Swat or Bajaur, range 
after range is seen as the long surges of an Atlan- 
tic swell, and in the distance some glittering snow 
peak suggests a white-crested roller, higher than 
the rest. The drenching rains which fall each year 
have washed the soil from the sides of the hills 
until they have become strangely grooved by 
numberless water-courses, and the black primeval 
rock is everywhere exposed. The silt and sedi- 
ment have filled the valleys which lie between, and 
made their surface sandy, level and broad. Again 
the rain has cut wide, deep and constantly-changing 
channels through this soft deposit ; great gutters, 
which are sometimes seventy feet deep and two or 
three hundred yards across. These are the nullahs. 
Usually the smaller ones are dry, and the larger 
occupied only by streams ; but in the season of 
the rains, abundant water pours dowTi all, and in a 
few hours the brook has become an impassable 
torrent, and the river swelled into a rolling flood 
which caves the banks round which it s\\irls, and 
cuts the channel deeper year by year. 

From the level plain of the valleys the hills rise 
abruptly. Their steep and rugged slopes are thickly 
strewn with great rocks, and covered with coarse, 


rank grass. Scattered pines grow on the higher 
ridges. In the water-courses the chenar, the beauti- 
ful eastern variety of the plane tree of the London 
squares and Paris boulevards, is occasionally found, 
and when found, is, for its pleasant shade, regarded 
with grateful respect. Reaching far up the sides 
of the hills are tiers of narrow terraces, chiefly the 
work of long-forgotten peopJes, which catch the soil 
that the rain brings down, and support crops of 
barley and maize. The rice fields along both banks 
of the stream display a broad, winding strip of vivid 
green, which gives the eye its only relief from the 
sombre colours of the mountains. 

In the spring, indeed, the valleys are brightened 
by many flowers — wild tulips, peonies, crocuses and 
several kinds of polyanthus ; and among the fruits 
the water melon, some small grapes and mulberries 
are excellent, although in their production, nature 
is unaided by culture. But during the campaign, 
which these pages describe, the hot sun of the 
summer had burnt up all the flowers, and only 
a few splendid butterflies, whose wings of blue 
and green change colour in the light, like shot 
silk, contrasted with the sternness of the land- 

The valleys are nevertheless by no means barren. 
The soil is fertile, the rains plentiful, and a con- 
siderable proportion of ground is occupied by 
cultivation, and amply suppHes the wants of the 

The streams are full of fish, both trout and 
mahseer. By the banks teal, widgeon and wild duck. 


and in some places, snipe, are plentiful. Chikor, a 
variety of partridge, and several sorts of pheasants, 
are to be obtained on the hills. 

Among the wild animals of the region the hunter 
may pursue the black or brown mountain bear, an 
occasional leopard, markhor, and several varieties 
of wild goat, sheep and antelope. The smaller quad- 
rupeds include hares and red foxes, not unlike 
the British breed, only with much brighter coats, 
and several kinds of rats, some of which are very 
curious and rare. Destitute of beauty but not 
without use, the scaly ant-eater is frequently seen ; 
but the most common of all the beasts is an odious 
species of large lizard, nearly three feet long, which 
resembles a flabby-skinned crocodile and feeds on 
carrion. Domestic fowls, goats, sheep and oxen, 
with the inevitable vulture, and an occasional eagle, 
complete the fauna. 

Over all is a bright blue sky and powerful sun. 
Such is the scenery of the theatre of war. 

The inhabitants of these wild but wealthy valleys 
are of many tribes, but of similar character and 
condition. The abundant crops which a warm sun 
and copious rains raise from a fertile soil, support 
a numerous population in a state of warhke leisure. 
Except at the times of sowing and of harvest, a 
continual state of feud and strife prevails through- 
out the land. Tribe wars with tribe. The people 
of one valley fight with those of the next. To the 
quarrels of communities are added the combats of 
individuals. Khan assails khan, each supported by 
his retainers. Every tribesman has a blood feud 


with his neighbour. Every man's hand is against 
the other, and all against the stranger. 

Nor are these struggles conducted \vith the 
weapons which usually belong to the races of such 
development. To the ferocity of the Zulu are added 
the craft of the Redskin and the marksmanship of 
the Boer. The world is presented with that grim 
spectacle, " the strength of civilisation without its 
mercy." At a thousand yards the traveller falls 
wounded by the well-aimed bullet of a breech- 
loading rifle. His assailant, approaching, hacks 
him to death with the ferocity of a South-Sea 
Islander. The weapons of the nineteenth century 
are in the hands of the savages of the Stone Age. 

Every influence, every motive, that provokes the 
spirit of murder among men, impels these moun- 
taineers to deeds of treachery and violence. The 
strong aboriginal propensity to kill, inherent in ail 
human beings, has in these valleys been preserved 
in unexampled strength and vigour. That religion, 
which above all others was founded and propagated 
by the sword — the tenets and principles of which 
are instinct with incentives to slaughter and which 
in three continents has produced fighting breeds of 
men — stimulates a wild and merciless fanaticism. 
The love of plunder, always a characteristic of hiU 
tribes, is fostered by the spectacle of opulence and 
luxury which, to their eyes, the cities and plains of 
the south display. A code of honour not less punc- 
tilious than that of old Spain, is supported by 
vendettas as implacable as those of Corsica. 

In such a state of society, all property is held 


directly by main force. Every man is a soldier. 
Either he is the retainer of some khan — the man- 
at-arms of some feudal baron as it were — or he is 
a unit in the armed force of his village — the burgher 
of mediaeval history. In such surroundings we 
may without difficulty trace the rise and fall of an 
ambitious Pathan. At first he toils with zeal and 
thrift as an agriculturist on that plot of ground 
which his family have held since they expelled some 
former owner. He accumulates in secret a sum of 
money. With this he buys a riile from some daring 
thief, who has risked his life to snatch it from a 
frontier guard-house. He becomes a man to be 
feared. Then he builds a tower to his house and 
overawes those around him in the village. Gradu- 
ally they submit to his authority. He might now 
rule the village ; but he aspires still higher. He 
persuades or compels his neighbours to join him in 
an attack on the castle of a local khan. The attack 
succeeds. The khan flies or is killed : the castle 
captured. The retainers make terms with the con- 
queror. The land tenure is feudal. In return for 
their acres they follow their new chief to war. Were 
he to treat them worse than other khans treated 
their servants, they would sell their strong arms else- 
where. He treats them well. Others resort to him. 
He buys more rifles. He conquers two or three 
neighbouring khans. He has now become a power. 
Many, perhaps all, states have been founded in a 
similar way, and it is by such steps that civilisation 
painfully stumbles through her earUer stages. But 
in these valleys the warlike nature of the people and 


their hatred of control, arrest the further progress 
of development. We have watched a man, able, 
thrifty, brave, fighting his way to power, absorbing, 
amalgamating, laying the foundations of a more 
complex and interdependent state of society. He 
has so far succeeded. But his success is now his 
ruin. A combination is formed against him. The 
surrounding chiefs and their adherents are assisted 
by the village populations. The ambitious Pathan, 
oppressed by numbers, is destroyed. The victors 
quarrel over the spoil, and the story closes, as it 
began, in bloodshed and strife. 

The conditions of existence, that have been thus 
indicated, have naturally led to the dwelling-places 
of these tribes being fortified. If they are in the 
valley, they are protected by towers and walls loop- 
holed for musketry. If in the hollows of the hills, 
they are strong by their natural position. In either 
case they are guarded by a hardy and martial people, 
well armed, brave, and trained by constant war. 

This state of continual tumult has produced a 
habit of mind which recks little of injuries, holds 
life cheap and embarks on war with careless levity, 
and the tribesmen of the Afghan border afford the 
spectacle of a people, who fight without passion, and 
kill one another without loss of temper. Such a 
disposition, combined with an absolute lack of 
reverence for all forms of law and authority, and a 
complete assurance of equality, is the cause of their 
frequent quarrels with the British power. A trifle 
rouses their animosity. They make a sudden attack 
on some frontier post. They are repulsed. From 


their point of view the incident is closed. There has 
been a fair fight in which they have had the worst 
fortune. What puzzles them is that " the Sirkar " 
should regard so small an affair in a serious light. 
Thus the Mohmands cross the frontier and the 
action of Shabkadr is fought. They are surprised 
and aggrieved that the Government are not con- 
tent with the victory, but must needs invade their 
territories, and impose punishment. Or again, the 
Mamunds, because a village has been burnt, assail 
the camp of the Second Brigade by night. It is a 
drawn game. They are astounded that the troops 
do not take it in good part. 

They, when they fight among themselves, bear 
little mahce, and the combatants not infrequently 
make friends over the corpses of their comrades or 
suspend operations for a festival or a horse race. 
At the end of the contest cordial relations are at 
once re-established. And yet so full of contradic- 
tions is their character, that all this is without 
prejudice to what has been written of their family 
vendettas and private blood feuds. Their system 
of ethics, which regards treachery and violence as 
virtues rather than vices, has produced a code of 
honour so strange and inconsistent, that it is in- 
comprehensible to a logical mind. I have been 
told that if a white man could grasp it fully, and 
were to understand their mental impulses — if he 
knew, when it was their honour to stand by him, 
and when it was their honour to betray him ; when 
they were bound to protect and when to kill him — 
he might, by judging his times and opportunities. 


pass safel}^ from one end of the mountains to the 
other. But a ci\ilised European is as little able to 
accomplish this, as to appreciate the feelings of 
those strange creatures, which, when a drop of 
water is examined under the microscope, are revealed 
amiably gobbhng each other up, and being them- 
selves complacently devoured. 

I remark with pleasure, as an agreeable trait in 
the character of the Pathans, the immunity, dic- 
tated by a rude spirit of chivalry, which in their 
ceaseless brawling, their women enjoy. Many forts 
are built at some distance from any pool or spring. 
When these aie besieged, the women are allowed 
by the assailants to carry water to the foot of the 
walls by night. In the morning the defenders come 
out and fetch it — of course under fire — and are 
enabled to continue their resistance. But passing 
from the military to the social aspect of their lives, 
the picture assumes an even darker shade, and is 
unrelieved by any redeeming virtue. We see them 
in their squahd, loopholed hovels, amid dirt and 
ignorance, as degraded a race as any on the fringe 
of humanity : fierce as the tiger, but less cleanly ; 
as dangerous, not so graceful. Those simple family 
virtues, which idealists usually ascribe to primitive 
peoples, are conspicuously absent. Their wives and 
their womankind generally, have no position but 
that of animals. They are freely bought and sold, 
and are not infrequently bartered for rifles. Truth 
is unknown among them. A single typical incident 
displays the standpoint from which they regard an 
oath. In any dispute about a field boundary, it 


is customary for both claimants to walk round the 
boundary he claims, with a Koran in his hand, 
swearing that all the time he is walking on his own 
land. To meet the difficulty of a false oath, while 
he is walking over his neighbour's land, he puts a 
little dust from his own field into his shoes. As 
both sides are acquainted with the trick, the dis- 
mal farce of swearing is usually soon abandoned, 
in favour of an appeal to force. 

All are held in the grip of miserable superstition. 
The power of the ziarat, or sacred tomb, is won- 
derful. Sick children are carried on the backs of 
buffaloes, sometimes sixty or seventy miles, to be 
deposited in front of such a shrine, after which they 
are carried back — if they survive the journey — in 
the same way. It is painful even to think of what 
the wretched child suffers in being thus jolted over 
the cattle tracks. But the tribesmen consider the 
treatment much more efficacious than any infidel 
prescription. To go to a ziarat and put a stick in 
the ground is sufficient to ensure the fuffilment of a 
wish. To sit swinging a stone or coloured glass baU, 
suspended by a string from a tree, and tied there 
by some fakir, is a sure method of securing a fine 
male heir. To make a cow give good milk, a httle 
should be plastered on some favourite stone near 
the tomb of a holy man. These are but a few 
instances ; but they may suffice to reveal a state 
of mental development at which civilisation hardly 
knows whether to laugh or weep. 

Their superstition exposes them to the rapacity 
and tyranny of a numerous priesthood — " MuUahs/' 


" Sahibzddas," " Akhundzddas," "Fakirs," — and a 
host of wandering Talih-ul-ilms, who correspond with 
the theological students in Turkey, Hve free at the 
expense of the people. More than this, they enjoy 
a sort of " droit du seigneur," and no man's wife 
or daughter is safe from them. Of some of their 
manners and morals it is impossible to write. As 
Macaulay has said of Wycherley's plays, " they are 
protected against the critics as a skunk is protected 
against the hunters." They are " safe, because 
too filthy to handle, and too noisome even to 

Yet the life even of these barbarous people is not 
without moments when the lover of the picturesque 
might sympathise with their hopes and fears. In 
the cool of the evening, when the sun has sunk 
behind the mountains of Afghanistan, and the 
valleys are filled with a delicious twilight, the 
elders of the village lead the way to the chenar trees 
by the water's side, and there, while the men are 
cleaning their rifles, or smoking their hookas, and the 
women are making rude ornaments from beads, and 
cloves, and nuts, the Mullah drones the evening 
prayer. Few white men have seen, and returned to 
tell the tale. But we may imagine the conversation 
passing from the prices of arms and cattle, the 
prospects of the harvest, or the village gossip, to the 
great Power, that hes to the southward, and comes 
nearer year by year. Perhaps some former Sepoy, 
of Behichis or Palhans, will recount his adventures 
in the. bazaars of Peshawar, or tell of the white 
officers he has followed and fought for in the past. 


He will speak of their careless bravery and their 
strange sports ; of the far-reaching power of the 
Government, that never forgets to send his pension 
regularly as the months pass by ; and he may even 
predict to the listening circle the day when their 
valleys will be involved in the comprehensive grasp 
of that great machine, and judges, collectors and 
commissioners shall ride to sessions at Ambeyla, or 
value the land tax on the soil of Nawagai. Then 
the Mullah will raise his voice and remind them of 
other days when the sons of the prophet drove the 
infidel from the plains of India, and ruled at Delhi, 
as wide an Empire as the Kafir holds to-day : 
when the true religion strode proudly through the 
earth and scorned to lie hidden and neglected among 
the hills : when mighty princes ruled in Bagdad, 
and all men knew that there was one God, and 
Mahomet was His prophet. And the young men 
hearing these things will grip their Martinis, and 
pray to Allah, that one day He will bring some 
Sahib — best prize of all — across their line of sight 
at seven hundred yards so that, at least, they may 
strike a blow for insulted and threatened Islam. 

The general aspect of the country and character 
of its inhabitants have thus been briefly described. 
At this stage it is not necessary or desirable to 
descend to detail. As the account proceeds the 
reader may derive a more lively impression of the 
sombre mountains, and of the peoples who dwell 
beneath their shadow. 

The tale that I have to teU is one of frontier war. 
Neither the importance of the issues, nor the numbers 


of the combatants, are on an European scale. The 
fate of empires does not hang on the result. Yet 
the narrative may not be without interest, or 
material for reflection. In the quarrels of civilised 
nations, great armies, many thousands strong, 
collide. Brigades and battahons are hurried forward, 
and come perhaps within some fire zone, swept by 
concentrated batteries, or massed musketry. Hun- 
dreds or thousands fall killed and wounded. The 
survivors struggle on blindly, dazed and dum- 
foundered, to the nearest cover. Fresh troops are 
continuously poured on from behind. At length 
one side or the other gives way. In all this tumult, 
this wholesale slaughter, the individual and his 
feelings are utterly lost. Only the army has a tale 
to tell. With events on such a scale, the hopes 
and fears, the strength and weakness, of man are 
ahke indistinguishable. Amid the din and dust 
Httle but destruction can be discerned. But on the 
frontier, in the clear hght of morning, when the 
mountain side is dotted with smoke puffs, and every 
ridge sparkles with bright sword blades, the spec- 
tator may observe and accurately appreciate all 
grades of human courage — the wild fanaticism of 
the Ghazi, the composed fatalism of the Sikh, the 
stubbornness of the British soldier, and the jaunty 
daring of his officers. He may remark occasions 
of devotion and self-sacrifice, of cool cynicism and 
stern resolve. He may "participate in moments of 
wild enthusiasm, or of savage anger and dismay. 
The skill of the general, the quahty of the troops, 
the eternal principles of the art of war, will be as 


clearly displayed as on historic fields. Only the 
scale of the statistics is reduced. 

A single glass of champagne imparts a feeUng of 
exhilaration. The nerves are braced, the imagina- 
tion is agreeably stirred, the wits become more 
nimble. A bottle produces a contrary effect. Ex- 
cess causes a comatose insensibihty. So it is with 
war, and the quaUty of both is best discovered by 

I propose to chronicle the military operations 
of the Malakand Field Force, to trace their poHtical 
results, and to give, if possible, some picture of the 
scenery and people of the Indian Highlands. These 
pages may serve to record the actions of brave 
and skilful men. They may throw a sideUght on 
the great drama of frontier war. They may 
describe an episode in that ceaseless struggle for 
Empire which seems to be the perpetual inheritance 
of our race. They may amuse an idle hour. But 
the ambition I shall associate with them is, that in 
some measure, however small, they may stimulate 
that growing interest which the Imperial Demo- 
cracy of England is beginning to take, in their great 
estates that lie beyond the seas. 



Ibam forte via sacra. — Horace. 

Nowshera — The Road to the Malakand — At the Top of 
the Pass — The Camp — Life on the Frontier — The 
Swat Valley — The Chitral Road — The Retention 
of Chitral. 

THE town and cantonment of Nowshera was the 
base from which all the operations of the Mala- 
kand Field Force were conducted. It is situated on 
the India side of the Cabul River and is six hours by 
rail from Rawal Pindi. In times of peace its garrison 
consists of one native cavalry regiment, one British, 
and one native infantry battahon. During the war 
these troops were employed at the front. The 
barracks became great hospitals. The whole place 
was crowded with transport and mihtary stores ; 
and only a slender force remained under the orders 
of Colonel Schalch, the Base Commandant. 

The road from Nowshera to the Malakand Pass 
and camps is forty-seven miles long, and divided 
into four stages. Usually there is an excellent 
longa service, and the distance is covered in about 
six hours ; but while the Field Force was mobihsed 



so much traffic and so many officers passed up and 
down the line, that the tonga ponies were soon 
reduced to a terrible condition of sores and emacia- 
tion, and could hardly drag the journey out in nine, 
ten, or even twelve hours. After leaving Nowshera, 
and crossing the Cabul River, a stage of fifteen 
miles brings the traveller to Mardan. Tliis place — 
pronounced Merddne — is the permanent station of 
the Corps of Guides. It is shady and agreeable, 
though terribly hot in the summer months. It 
boasts an excellent polo ground and a comfortable 
rest-house. The passer-by should pause to see the 
Guides' cemetery, perhaps the only regimental ceme- 
tery in the world. To this last resting-place under 
the palm trees, close to the fields where they have 
played, and the barracks in which they lived, have 
been borne the bodies of successive generations of 
these wardens of the marches, killed in action across 
the frontier Une. It is a green and pleasant spot. 
Nor is there an\' place in the world where a soldier 
might lie in braver company. 

After Mardan the road becomes more dusty, and 
the surrounding country barren and arid.* The 
mountains are approached, and as the tonga ad- 
vances their shapes and colours are more distinctly 
seen. A few knoUs and ridges rising from the level 
plain, mark the outposts of that great array of hills. 
Crossing a shaUow stream — a tributary of the Cabul 
River, Jalala, the second stage is reached. In peace 
time a small mud fort is the only indication, but this 

* This description applies to the autumn season. In the winter 
and spring the country for a time is green and the air cold. 


is expanded by the proximity of war to a consider- 
able camp, with an entrenchment around it. Stop' 
ping only to change ponies, for it is a forsaken spot, 
the journey is resumed. The avenue of trees on 
either side has ceased. The road is seen simply as 
a white streak stretching towards the mountains. It 
is traversed in a sweltering heat and choking dust. 
All around the country is red, sterile and burnt up. 
In front the great wall of hills rises dark and 
ominous. At length Dargai at the foot of the pass 
is reached. It is another mud fort, swelled during, 
the operations into an entrenched camp, and sur- 
rounded by a network of barbed wire entanglement. 
The Malakand Pass can now be seen — a great cleft 
in the line of mountains — and far up the gorge, the 
outline of the fort that guards it, is distinguishable. 
The graded road winds up, with many a turn, 
the long ascent from Dargai to the top of the pass. 
The driver flogs the wretched, sore-backed ponies 
tirelessly. At length the summit is neared. The 
view is one worth stopping to look at. Behind 
and below, under the haze of the heat, is the wide 
expanse of open country — smooth, level, stretching 
away to the dim horizon. The tonga turns the 
corner and enters a new world. A cooler breeze is 
blowing. A single step has led from peace to war ; 
from civilisation to savagery ; from. India to the 
mountains. On all sides the landscape is wild and 
rugged. Ridge succeeds ridge. Valley opens into 
valley. As far as the eye can reach in every direc- 
tion are ragged peaks and spurs. The country of 
the plains is left, and we have entered a strange 


land, as tangled as the maze at Hampton Court, 
with mountains instead of hedges. So broken and 
so confused is the ground, that I despair of con- 
veying a clear impression of it. 

The Malakand is hke a great cup, of which the 
rim is broken into numerous clefts and jagged 
points. At the bottom of this cup is the " crater " 
camp. The deepest cleft is the Malakand Pass. 
The highest of the jagged points is Guides Hill, on 
a spur of which the fort stands. It needs no tech- 
nical knowledge to see, that to defend such a place, 
the rim of the cup must be held. But in the Mala- 
kand, the bottom of the cup is too small to contain 
the necessary garrison. The whole position is 
therefore, from, the military point of view, bad and 
indefensible. In the revised and improved scheme 
of defence, arrangements have been made, to com- 
mand the available approaches, and to block such as 
cannot be commanded with barbed mre entangle- 
ments and ether obstructions ; and by a judicious 
system of works much of the rim is now held. But 
even now I am told by com.petent judges that the 
place is a bad one for defence ; that the pass could 
be held by the fort alone, and that the brigade 
stationed there would be safer and equally useful, 
if withdrawn to Dargai. At the time this story 
opens the Malakand South Camp was an impossible 
place to put troops in. It was easy of access. It 
was cramped and commanded by neighbouring 

* Under the arrangements which have been made since the war, 
the Malakand position and the works at Chakdara and Dargai will 


The small area of the camp on the Kotal necessi- 
tated the formation of a second encampment in the 
plain of Khar. This was close under the north 
outer edge of the cup. It was called for political 
reasons North Malakand. As a military position 
it, also, was radically bad. It was everywhere 
commanded, and surrounded by ravines and nullahs, 
which made it easy for an enemy to get in, and 
difficult for troops to get out. It was, of course, of 
no strategic value, and was merel}^ used as a habi- 
tation for the troops intended to hold Malakand, 
for whom there was no room in the crater and fort. 
The north camp has now been definitely abandoned. 

Nobody, however — least of all those who selected 
the site — would seem to have contemplated the 
possibility of an attack. Indeed the whole situa- 
tion was regarded as purely temporar3^ The vacil- 
lation, caused by the change of parties and policies 
in England, led to the Malakand garrison remaining 
for two years in a position which could not be well 
defended either on paper or in reality. At first, 
after the Chitral campaign of 1895, it was thought 
that the retention of the brigade in this advanced 
post, WcLS only a matter of a few weeks. But as 
the months passed by the camp began, in spite of 
the uncertainty, to assume an appearance of per- 
manency. The officers built themselves huts and 
mess rooms. A good polo ground was discovered 
near Khar, and under careful management rapidly 

be held by two battalions and some details. These wdll be sup- 
ported by a flying column, the exact location and composition of 
which are as yet -undetermined. 


improved. A race-course was projected. Many 
officers who were married brought their wives and 
famihes to the camp among the mountains, and the 
whole place was rapidly becoming a regular can- 
tonment. No cases of Ghazi outrage broke the 
tranquillity. The revolvers, which all persons leav- 
ing camp were by regulations obliged to take, were 
either unloaded or carried by a native groom. 
Shooting parties were organised to the hills. A 
well-contested polo tournament was held in Christ- 
mas week. Distinguished travellers — even a member 
of Parliament — visited this outpost of empire, and 
observed with interest the swiftness and ease with 
which the Anglo-Saxon adapts every situation to his 
sports and habits. 

At the same time the station of the Malakand 
Brigade was far from being a comfortable one. For 
two years they lived under canvas or in rude huts. 
They were exposed to extremes of climate. They 
were without punkahs or ice in the hot weather. 
They were nearly fifty miles from the railway, and 
in respect of companionship and amusements were 
thrown entirely on their own resources. When the 
British cavalr^^ officer succeeds, in spite of official 
opposition, expense and discouragement, in getting 
on service across the frontier, he is apt to look v/ith 
envious eyes at the officers of the Frontier Force, 
who are taken as a matter of course and compelled 
to do by command, what he would solicit as a favour. 
But he must remember that this is their compensa- 
tion for long months of discomfort and monotony 
in lonely and out-of-the-way stations, and for under- 


going hardships which, though honourable and wel- 
come in the face of the enemy, becom.e obnoxious 
in times of peace. 

After crossing the Malakand Pass the first turn- 
ing to the right leads to the Swat Valley. The 
traveller is now within the mountains. In every 
direction the view is restricted or terminated by 
walls of rock. The valley itself is broad, level and 
fertile. The river flows swiftly through the middle. 
On either side of it, is a broad strip of rice fields. 
Other crops occupy the drier ground. Numerous 
\dllages, some of which contain large populations, 
are scattered about. It is a beautiful scene. The 
cool breezes of the mountains temper the heat of 
the sun. The abundant rains preserve the verdure 
of the earth. 

In ancient times this region was the seat of a Bud- 
dhistic kingdom, and was known as Woo-Chang or 
" Udyana," Vv'hich means " the Park," and pro- 
claims the appreciation which its former possessors 
had of their pleasant valley. " The people," says 
the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hien, who visited the country 
in the fifth century, " all use the language of Central 
India, * Central India ' being what we should call 
the * Middle Kingdom.* The food and clothes of 
the common people are the same as in that Central 
Kingdom. The law of Buddha is very flourishing 
in Woo-Chang." " The Park," which includes all 
the country' on both banks of the Swat River — then 
called the Subhavastu — but which perhaps applies 
more particularly to the upper end of the valley, was 
famous for its forests, flowers and fruit. But though 


the valley retains much of its beauty, its forests have 
been destroyed by the improvidence, and its flowers 
and fruit have declined through the ignorance, of 
the fierce conquerors into whose hands it fell. 

The reputation which its present inhabitants en- 
joy is evil. Their treacherous character has dis- 
tinguished them even among peoples notoriously 
faithless and cruel. Among Pathans it is a common 
saying : " Swat is heaven, but the Swatis are hell- 
fiends." For many years the^/ had lain under the 
stigma of cowardice, and Vv^ere despised as well as 
distrusted by the tribes of the border ; but their 
conduct in Ihe recent fighting has cleared them at 
least from this imputation. 

Several minor chieftains now divide authority in 
the Swat Valley, but till 1870 it was governed by a 
single ruler. The Ahkund of Swat was by origin 
a cowherd, an office considered most honourable in 
India. The cow is a sacred beast. His service is 
acceptable to the Gods and men. Princes glory in 
the name — though they do not usually carry their 
enthusiasm further. " Guicovvar " .translated liter- 
ally means " cowherd." From such employment 
the future Ahkund received his inspiration. He sat 
for many years , by the banks of the Indus, and 
meditated. Thus he became a saint. The longer 
his riparian reflections were continued, the greater 
his sanctity became. The fame of his holiness spread 
throughout all the region. The Swatis besought 
him to come and live in their valley. After digni- 
fied and diplomatic reluctance, he consented to 
exchange the banks- of the Indus for those of the 

THE MALAKAND camps. 41 

Swat. For some years, he lived in the green valley, 
and enjoyed the reverence of its people. At the time 
of the great mutiny, Said Akbar, the King of Swat, 
died, and the saint succeeded to the temporal as well 
as the spiritual authority. In 1863 he preached the 
Jehad against the British, and headed the Swatis 
and Bunerwals in the Ambeyla campaign. The 
power which the Sirkar so extravagantly displayed 
to bring the war to an end, evidently impressed the 
old man, for at its close he made friends with the 
Government and received from them many tokens 
of respect. 

Before he died in 1870, he summoned his people 
around him and declared to them that one day their 
valley would be the scene of a struggle between the 
Russians and the British. When that came to 
pass he charged them to fight on our side. The 
saying is firmly fixed in the hearts of the tribesmen, 
and is associated with the memory of their famous 
priest, known to English minds chiefly through the 
medium of the " Bab Ballads." 

His two sons are dead, but his two grandsons,* 
both quite young, live on in the valley, and are the 
owners of the Ahkund's freeholds, which are in every 
section of the Swat country. They have very little 
political influence ; but their persons and property 
are respected by the people and by the British for 
the sake of their grandfather, who sleeps in an odour 
of sanctity at Saidu, near Mingaora. 

From the Malakand the signal tower of Chakdara 
can be seen eight miles away to the eastward. 
* The Mianguls of Swat. 


Thither the broad graded road runs Hke a ribbon 
across the plain. Seven miles from the Kotal Camp, 
it crosses the Amandara Pass, a gap in a considerable 
nnderfeature, which juts from the southern moun- 
tains. After this it turns more to the north and 
leads to the fortified JDridge across the river. I in- 
vite the reader to remark this road, for it is historic. 
It is not only the route by which the Malakand Field 
Force was able to advance, but it is the very reason 
of their existence. Without this road there would 
have been no Malakand Camps, no fighting, no Mala- 
kand Field Force, no story. It is the road to Chitral. 

Here then, at once, the whole vast question of 
frontier policy is raised. We hold the Malakand 
Pass to keep the Chitral road open. We keep the 
Chitral road open because we have retained Chitral. 
We retain Chitral in accordance with the " Forward 
Policy." I am thus confronted at the very outset 
of this book, which was intended to be devoted 
chiefly to the narration of military events and small 
incidents, with that wide political question, on which 
the keenest intellects in England are in doubt, and 
the most valuable expert evidence in India is divided. 
The reader must not think me pusillanimous or weak 
if I postpone the discussion of so great and contro- 
versial a matter tiU a later chapter, when I may 
perhaps enjoy a larger measure of his sympathy and 
agreement. After the story has been told, it may 
not be inappropriate to point the moral. 

Prudence encourages procrastination. But while 
the consideration of the advisability of the retention 
of Chitral may be deferred, a description of the 


means is convenient, if not necessary, to the present 

Nowshera is the railway base of the road. Thence 
we have followed it to Mardan and across the fron- 
tier. Here the new and disputed portion begins. 
Passing at first through the Lower Ranizai country, 
it climbs the Malakand Pass, descends into the 
valley beyond and runs thence through Upper Rani- 
zai territory and Lower Sv/at to Chakdara. Here 
it crosses the Swat River by the fine suspension 
bridge which the fort guards. The three spans of 
this bridge are together nearly 1500 feet long. It 
was constructed in 1895, during the operations, in 
about six weeks, and is a very remarkable piece 
of military engineering. Beyond the Swat the road 
runs through the territories of the Khan of Dir, 
north and east to Sadu, an obscure village thirty- 
five miles from Malakand. This marks the end of 
the first section, and further than this wheeled traffic 
cannot go. The road, now become a camel track, 
winds along the left bank of the Panjkora River to 
within five miles of Dir, where it crosses to the right 
bank by another suspension bridge. Thence it con- 
tinues to the junction of the Dir stream, along which 
it finds its way to Dir itself, some fifty miles from 
Sadu. Beyond Dir camels cannot proceed, and here 
begins the third section — a path practicable only for 
mules, and about sixty miles long. From Dir the road 
is a triumph of engineering. In many places it is 
carried on wooden galleries perched on the faces of 
steep and tremendous cliffs, and at others it works 
round spurs by astounding zig-zags, or is scarped 


from the mountain side. At the end of the road is 
Fort Chitral with a garrison of two battahons, one 
company of sappers, and two miountain guns. 

The road is maintained and protected by the tribes 
through whose territories it passes ; but the two 
principal points where it might be closed are held 
by Imperial garrisons. The Malakand Fort guards 
the passage of the mountains. Chakdara holds the 
bridge across the river. The rest is left to the tribal 
levies. The Ranizai tribe receive an annual sub- 
sidy from the Indian Government of 30,000 rupees, 
out of which they maintain 200 irregulars armed with 
sniders, and irreverently called by the British officers, 
" Catch-'em-alive-Os." These drive away marau- 
ders and discourage outrage and murder. The 
Khan of Dir, through whose territory the road runs 
for seventy-three miles, also receives a subsidy from 
Government of 60,000 rupees, in consideration of 
which he provides 400 irregulars for its service. 

Until the great rising these arrangements worked 
admirably. The tribesmen interested in the main- 
tenance of the route, were most reluctant to engage 
in hostilities against the Government. The Lower 
Ranizais, south of Malakand, abstained altogether. 
The elders of the tribe collected all the arms of 
their hot-headed youths, and forbade them to attack 
the troops. The Upper Ranizais were nearer the 
scene of the disturbance, and were induced by 
superstition and fear to join the Mullah ; but very 
half-heartedly. The Swatis were carried away by 
fanaticism. The Khan of Dir throughout behaved 
loyally, as he is entirely dependent on British sup- 


port, and his people realise the advantages of the 

If the road is interesting its story is more so, and 
a summary of the events and causes which have led 
to its construction, may also throw some hght on 
the poHtical history and methods of the border tribes. 

The uncertainty and insecurity of their power, 
has always led petty chiefs to seek the support of 
some powerful suzerain. In 1876 the Mehtar of 
Chitral, Aman-ul-Mulk, v/as encouraged to seek 
the protection, and become the vassal of our vassal, 
the Maharaja o: Cashmere. In accordance with 
the general scheme of advance, then already adopted 
by the Indian Government, a British agency was at 
once estabhshed at Gilgit on the Chitral-Cashmere 
frontier. Aman-ul-Mulk was presented with a 
certain supply of arms and ammunition, and an 
annual subsidy of 6000 rupees, afterwards raised to 
12,000 rupees. The British thus obtained an in- 
terest in Chitral, and a point of observation on its 
borders. In 188 1 the agency was v>'ithdra\\Ti, but 
the influence remained, and in 1889 it was re-estab- 
hshed \vith a much larger garrison. Meanwhile 
Aman-ul-Mulk ruled in Chitral, shov^dng great 
respect to the washes of the Government, and in the 
enjoyment of his subsidy and comparative peace. 
But in 1892 he died, leaving many sons, all equally 
ferocious, ambitious and unscrupulous. One of 
these, Afzal by name, though not the eldest or ac- 
knowledged heir, had the good fortune to be on the 
spot. He seized the reins of power, and having 
murdered as many of his brothers, as he could catch. 


proclaimed himself Mehtar, and invited the recogni- 
tion of the Indian Government. He was acknow- 
ledged chief, as he seemed to be " a man of courage 
and determination," and his rule afforded a prospect 
of settled government. Surviving brothers fled to 
neighbouring states. 

Nizam, the eldest, came to Gilgit and appealed 
to the British. He got no help. The blessing had 
already been bestowed. But in November, 1892, 
Sher Afzul, a brother of the late Aman, returned by 
stealth to Chitral, whence fraternal affection had 
driven him, and killed the new Mehtar and an- 
other brother, both of whom were his nephews. 
The " wicked uncle " then ascended the throne, or 
its equivalent. He was, however, opposed. The 
Indian Government refused to recognise him. 
Nizam, at Gilgit, urged his claims, and was finally 
allowed to go and try to regain his inheritance. 
The moral support of 250 Cashmere rifles brought 
him many adherents. He was joined by the people. 
It was the landing of William of Orange on a reduced 
scale, and with Cashmere troops instead of Dutch 
Guards. Twelve hundred men sent by Sher Afzul 
to oppose him, deserted to his side. The avuncular 
usurper, realising that it might be dangerous to wait 
longer, fled to Afghanistan, as James II. had fled to 
France, was received by the ruler with hospitality, 
and carefully preserved as an element of future 

Nizam now became Mehtar according to his desire. 
But he did not greatly enjoy his power, and may 
have evolved some trite reflections on the vanity of 


earthly ambition. From the first he was poor and 
unpopular. With the support of the Government of 
India, however, he managed to maintain a weak, 
squaHd rule for a space. To give him countenance, 
and in accordance with the Pohcy, Captain Young- 
husband was sent to the country with a hundred 
bayonets. The Gilgit garrison was increased by a 
battalion, and several posts were estabUshed between 
that place and Mastuj. 

Thus the Imperial forces had entered Chitral. 
Their position was soon to become one of danger. 
They were separated from Gilgit by many miles of 
bad road, and warUke tribesmen. To move troops 
from Gilgit would always be slow and difficult. 
Another route was however possible, the route I 
have described — a route northwards from Peshawar 
through Dir — shorter and easier, starting from 
British territory and the railway. Towards this 
hne of communication the Indian Government now 
looked. If British troops or agents were to be re- 
tained in Chitral, if in other words their recognised 
pohcy was to be continued, this route must be opened 
up. They sounded the Home Government. Lord 
Kimberley replied, deprecating increase of responsi- 
bilities, of territory and expenditure, and declining 
to pledge himself to support such a scheme. At the 
same timxC he sanctioned the temporary retention oi 
the troops, and the agent, in the hopes of strengthen- 
ing Nizam.* 

At this point Umra Khan must enter the story. 
The Gilgit agency report, dated 28th April, 1890, 

* Despatch from Secretary of State, No. 34, ist Sept., 1893. 


speaks of this chief, who was the Khan of Jandul, 
but whose influence pervaded the whole of Bajaur 
as " the most important man between Chitral and 
Peshawar." To this powerful ruler, another of the 
sons of Aman, named Amir, had fled from the family- 
massacre which followed his father's death. Umra 
Khan protected him and determined to turn him to 
his ov/n advantage. In May, 1894, this youith — he 
was about twenty years of age — returned to Chitral, 
professing to have escaped from the hands of Umra 
Khan. He was kindly received by Nizam, who 
seems to ha,ve been much hampered throughout his 
career by his virtue. On ist January, 1895, Amir 
availed himself of his welcome, to murder his brother, 
and the principal members of the Chitral Cabinet. 
He proclaimed himself Mehtar and asked for recog- 
nition. The Imperial oiflcers, though used to fron- 
tier politics, refused to commit themselves to any 
arrangement with such a villain, until the matter 
had been considered in India. 

Umra Khan now advanced with a large force to 
the head of the Chitral Valley, nominally to assist 
his dear friend and ally, Amir, to consolidate his rule, 
really in the hopes of extending his own territories. 
But Amir, knowing Umra weU, and having won his 
kingdom, did not desire to share it. Fighting en- 
sued. The Chitrals were beaten. As he could not 
make any use of Amir, Umra Khan invited the 
wicked uncle to return. Sher Afzul accepted. A 
bargain was struck. Sher Afzul claimed to be made 
Mehtar. Umra supported his claims. Both threat- 
ened force in the event of opposition. 


But the Imperial Government rose in wTath, re- 
fused to have anything to do with the new claimant, 
informed him that his language was impertinent, 
and warned Umra Khan to leave Chitral territory 
forthwith or take the consequences. The answer 
was war. The scanty garrisons and scattered 
parties of British troops were attacked. A com- 
pany of the 14th Sikhs was cut to pieces. Lieu- 
tenants Fowler and Edwards were taken prisoners. 
Fort Chitral, into which the rest of the Chitral mis- 
sion and their escort had thrown themselves, was 
closely and fiercely besieged. To rescue them was 
imperative. The ist Division of the Field Army 
was mobihsed. A force of nearly 16,000 men crossed 
the frontier on the ist April, from Mardan, to ad- 
vance to the relief by the shortest route — the route 
through Swat and Dir — the line of the present 
Chitral road. The command of the expedition 
was confided to Sir Robert Low. Sir Bindon Blood 
was Chief of the Staff. 

So far the tale has been of the steady increase of 
British influence, in accordance with an avowed 
and consistent policy — primarily in Chitral, and 
ultimately throughout the border tribes. One 
movement has been followed by another. All have 
been aimed at a common end. Now suddenly we 
are confronted with an act by which the Govern- 
ment of India with open e\'es placed an obstacle 
in the path, which they had so long pursued, to 
follow which they had made so many efforts them- 
selves and demanded so many sacrifices from their 
subjects. Perhaps from compunction, but probably 


to soothe the Liberal Government, by appearing 
to localise the disturbances, and disclaiming any 
further acquisition of territory, they issued a pro- 
clamation to " all the people of Swat and the people 
of Bajaur, who do not side with Umra Khan," in 
which they declared that they had " no intention 
of permanently occupying any territory through 
which Umra Khan's misconduct " might " force 
them to pass, or of interfering with the indepen- 
dence of the tribes." * 

If this proclamation was intended for poHtical 
purposes in England, it, from one point of view, 
succeeded most admirably, for there has been 
nearly as much wTitten about it as about all the 
soldiers who have been killed and wounded in the 
war. It had, however, no effect upon the tribesmen, 
who were infuriated by the sight of the troops and 
paid no attention to the protestations of the Gov- 
ernment. Had they watched with care the long, 
steady, deliberate advance, which I have so briefly 
summarised ; had they read the avowed and re- 
corded determination of the Indian Administration 
" to extend and, by degrees, to consolidate their 
influence " f in the whole drainage system of the 
Indus, they might have even doubted their sincerity. 
Instead, and being unable to make fine distinctions, 
they saw only invasion in the military movements. 

They gathered accordingly, to oppose the advance 
of the troops. To the number of 12,000 they occu- 
pied the Malakand Pass — a tremendous position. 

* Proclamation, 14th March, 1895. 

t Letter from Government of India, No. 407, 28th February, 1879. 


From this they were driven with great slaughter on 
the 3rd of April, by the two leading brigades of Sir 
Robert Low's force. Further operations resulted 
in the passage of the Swat and Panjkora Rivers 
being effected. The road to Chitral was open. The 
besiegers of the fort fled, and a small relieving force 
was able to push through from Gilgit under Colonel 
Kelly. Umra Khan fled to Afghanistan, and the 
question of future poHcy came before the Govern- 
ment of India. 

Two alternatives presented themselves : either 
they must " abandon the attempt to keep up any 
effective control " over Chitral, or they must put 
a sufficient garrison there. In pursuance of their 
recognised policy, the Council decided unanimously 
that to maintain British influence in Chitral was " a 
matter of first importance." In a despatch* to the 
Home Government they set forth all their reasons, 
and at the same time declared that it was impossible 
to garrison Chitral without keeping up the road from 
Peshawar, by which the ReUef force had advanced. 

On the 13th of June Lord Rosebery's Cabinet 
rephed decisively, with courage if not with wisdom, 
that " no military force or European agent should 
be kept at Chitral, that Chitral should not be forti- 
fied, and that no road should be made between 
Peshawar and Chitral." By this they definitely 
and finally repudiated the poUcy which had been 
consistently followed since 1876. They left Chitral 
to stew in its own juice. They over-ruled the Gov- 
ernment of India. It was a bold and desperate 

♦ Despatch of Government of India, No. 240, 8th May, 1895. 


attempt to return to the old frontier line. The 
Indian Government replied : " We deeply regret 
but loyally accept decision," and began to gather 
up the severed strings of their poUcy and weave 
another web. 

But in the nick of time the Liberal Administration 
fell, and Lord SaHsbury's Cabinet reversed their 
decision. It is interesting, in reading the Blue 
Books on Indian questions, to watch the emotions 
of party principles, stirring beneath the uniform 
mask of official responsibility — which the most 
reckless of men a^e compelled to wear as soon as 
they become ministers. The language, the style, 
the tone of the correspondence is the same. It is 
always a great people addressing and instructing 
their pro-consuls and administrators. But the in- 
fluence inclines backwards and forwards as the 
pendulum of poHtics swings. And as the swing in 
1895 was a very great one, a proportionate impulse 
was given to the poHcy of advance. " It seemed " 
to the new ministry " that the policy . . . continu- 
ously pursued by successive Governments ought not 
to be lightly abandoned unless its maintenance had 
become clearly impossible." * Thus the retention 
of Chitral was sanctioned, and the road which that 
retention necessitated was completed. 

I approach with nervousness so great a matter 
as the " Breach of Faith " question. In a book 
devoted chiefly to the deeds of soldiers it seems 
almost presumptuous to discuss an affair which 
involves the poUtical honour of statesmen. In 

* Despatch, Secretary of State, No. 30, i6th Aug., 1895. 


their unnecessary and gratuitous proclamation the 
Government of India declared, that they had no 
intention of interfering with the tribes, or of per- 
manently occupying any territorj^ the troops might 
march through ; whereas now they do interfere with 
the tribesmen, and have estabhshed garrisons at 
Dargai, Malakand and Chakdara, all of wliich are 
in the territory through which the troops passed. 
But it takes two to make a bargain or a breach of 
faith. The tribes took no notice of the proclama- 
tion. They did not understand it. They did not 
believe it. Where there is no faith there can be no 
breach of faith. The border peoples resisted the 
advance. That opposition annulled the proclama- 
tion, and proved that it was not credited by the 
tribesmen. They do not think they have been 
tricked. They do not regard the road as a " breach 
of faith." What they do regard it as, is a menace 
to their independence, and a prelude to annexation. 
Nor are they wrong. Looking at the road, as I have 
seen it, and have tried to describe it, running broad 
and white across the vallev ; at the soldiers moving 
along it ; at the poUtical officers extending their 
influence in ail directions ; at the bridge and fort 
of Chakdara ; and at the growing cantonment on 
the Malakand Pass, it needs no education to ap- 
preciate its significance. Nor can any sophistry 
obscure it. 



Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum. 


The Causes — Prosperity — The Undercurrent — The 
Means — The Miracles — Rumours of War — Pre- 
parations — The Movable Column — The Storm 

THE historian of great events is always oppressed 
by the difficulty of tracing the silent, subtle in- 
fluences, which in all communities precede and pre- 
pare the way for violent outbursts and uprisings. 
He may discover many causes and record them 
duly, but he will always be sensible that others 
have escaped him. The changing tides of public 
opinion, the undercurrents of interest, partisanship 
and caprice, the whirlpools of illogical sentiment or 
ignorant prejudice, exert forces so complex and 
numerous, that to observe and appreciate them all, 
and to estimate the effect of each in raising the 
storm, is a task beyond the intellect and industry 
of man. The chronicler of small things Hes undei 
even greater disabilities. He has fewer facts to 
guide his judgment, nor is it as easy to read small 
print as capital letters. 


In an attempt to state the causes of the great 
tribal upheaval of 1897, these difficulties are in- 
creased by the fact that no European can gauge the 
motives or assume the points of view of Asiatics. 
It is, however, impossible to pass the question by, 
and ignoring the detail, I shall endeavour to indicate 
some at least of the most important and apparent 
forces, which have led to the formidable combina- 
tion with which the British power in India has 
been confronted. 

The most marked incident in the " Forward 
PoHcy " has been the retention of Chitral. The 
garrisons, the road, the tribal levies have made the 
tribesmen reahse the proximity and the advance of 
civihsation. It is possible — even probable — that 
with all their love of independence, the majority of 
the inhabitants of the mountains would have been 
willing, until their liberties were actually curtailed, 
to remain in passive submission, soothed by the 
increase of material prosperity. During the two 
years that the British flag had floated over Chak- 
dara and the Malakand the trade of the Swat 
VaUey had nearly doubled. As the sun of civihsa- 
tion rose above the hills, the fair flowers of com- 
merce unfolded, and the streams of supply and 
demand, hitherto congealed by the frost of bar- 
barism, were thawed. Most of the native popula- 
tion were content to bask in the genial warmth and 
enjoy the new-found riches and comforts. For two 
years reliefs had gone to and from Chitral with- 
out a shot being fired. Not a post-bag had been 
stolen, not a messenger murdered. The poHtical 


officers riding about freely among the fierce hill 
men were invited to settle many disputes, which 
would formerly have been left to armed force. 

But a single class had viewed with quick intelli- 
gence and intense hostility the approach of the 
British power. The priesthood of the Afghan 
border instantly recognised the full meaning of the 
Chitral road. The cause of their antagonism is 
not hard to discern. Contact with civilisation 
assails the ignorance, and credulity, on which the 
wealth and influence of the Mullah depend. A 
general combination of the religious forces of India 
against that civiHsing, educating rule, which un- 
consciously saps the strength of superstition, is one 
of the dangers of the future. Here Mahommed- 
anism was threatened and resisted. A vast, but 
silent agitation was begun. Messengers passed to 
and fro among the tribes. Whispers of war, a 
holy war, were breathed to a race intensely passion- 
ate and fanatical. Vast and m.ysterious agencies, 
the force of which is incomprehensible to rational 
minds, were employed. ]\Iore astute brains than 
the wild valleys of the North produce conducted 
the preparations. Secret encouragement came from 
the South — from India itself. Actual support and 
assistance was given from Cabul. 

In that strange half light of ignorance and 
superstition, assailed by supernatural terrors and 
doubts, and lured by hopes of celestial glory, the 
tribes were taught to expect prodigious events. 
Something was coming. A great day for their race 
and faith was at hand. Presently the moment 


would arrive. They must watch and be read}'. 
The mountains became as full of explosives as a 
magazine. Yet the spark was lacking. 

At length the time came. A strange combina- 
tion of circumstances operated to improve the 
opportunity. The victory of the Turks over the 
Greeks ; the circulation of the Amir's book on 
" Jehad " ; his assumption of the position of a 
Caliph of Islam, and much indiscreet writing in 
the Anglo-Indian press,* united to produce a 
" boom " in Mahommedanism. 

The moment was propitious ; nor was the man 
wanting. What Peter the Hermit was to the 
regular bishops and cardinals of the Church, the 
Mad Mullah was to the ordinary priesthood of the 
Afghan border. A wild enthusiast, con\'inced alike 
of his Divine mission and miraculous powers, 
preached a crusade, or Jehad, against the infidel. 
The mine was fired. The flame ran along the 
ground. The explosions burst forth in all direc- 
tions. The reverberations have not yet died away. 

Great and \videspread as the preparations were, 
they were not visible to the watchful diplomatic 
agents who maintained the relations of the Govern- 
ment with the tribesmen. So extraordinary is the 
inversion of ideas and motives among those people 
that it may be said that those who know them 
best, know them least, and the more logical the 

* Articles in Anglo-Indian papers on such subjects as " The 
Recrudescence of Mahommedanism " produce more effect on the 
educated native mind than the most seditious frothings of the 
vernacular press. 


mind of the student the less he is able to under- 
stand of the subject. In any case among those 
able men who diligently collected information and 
observed the state of feeling, there were none who 
realised the latent forces that were being accumu- 
lated on all sides. The strange treachery at Maizar 
in June was a flash in the pan. Still no one saw 
the danger. It was not until the early days of July 
that it was noticed that there was a fanatical move- 
ment in Upper Swat. Even then its significance 
was disregarded and its importance underrated. 
That a Mad Fakir had arrived was known. His 
power was still a secret. It did not long remain so. 
It is, thank heaven, difficult if not impossible for 
the modern European to fully appreciate the force 
which fanaticism exercises among an ignorant, war- 
like and Oriental population. Several generations 
have elapsed since the nations of the West have 
drawn the sword in religious controversy, and the 
evil memories of the gloomy past have soon faded 
in the strong, clear light of Rationalism and human 
sympathy. Indeed it is evident that Christianity, 
however degraded and distorted by cruelty and in- 
tolerance, must always exert a modifying influence 
on men's passions, and protect them from the more 
violent forms of fanatical fever, as we are protected 
from smallpox by vaccination. But the Mahom- 
medan religion increases, instead of lessening, the 
fury of intolerance. It was originally propagated 
by the sword, and ever since, its votaries have been 
subject, above the people of all other creeds, to this 
form of madness. In a moment the fruits of patient 


toil, the prospects of material prosperity, the fear of 
death itself, are flung aside. The more emotional 
Pathans are powerless to resist. AH rational con- 
siderations are forgotten, Seizing their weapons, 
they become Ghazis — as dangerous and as sensible 
as mad dcgs : fit only to be treated as such. While 
the more generous spirits among the tribesmen 
become convulsed in an ecstasy of religious blood- 
thirstiness, poorer and more material souls derive 
additional impulses from the influence of others, the 
hopes of plunder and the joy of fighting. Thus 
whole nations are roused to arms. Thus the Turks 
repel their enemies, the Arabs of the Soudan break 
the British squares, and the rising on the Indian 
frontier spreads far and wide. In each ease civilisa- 
tion is confronted with militant Mahornmedanism. 
The forces of progress clash with those of reaction. 
The religion of blood and war is face to face with 
that of peace. Luckfly the religion of peace is 
usually the better armed. 

The extraordinary credulity of the people is 
hardly conceivable. Had the Mad Mullah called 
on them to follow him to attack Malakand and 
Chakdara they would have refused. Instead he 
worked miracles. He sat at his house, and aU who 
came to visit him, brought him a small offering of 
food or money, in return for which he gave them 
a little rice. As his stores were continually re- 
plenished, he might claim to have fed thousands. 
He asserted that he was invisible at night. Looking 
into his room, they saw no one. At these things 
they marvelled. Fi n ally he declared he would 


destroy the infidel. He wanted no help. No one 
should share the honours. The heavens would 
open and an army would descend. The more he 
protested he did not want them, the more exceed- 
ingly they came. Incidentally he mentioned that 
they would be invulnerable ; other agents added 
arguments. I was shown a captured scroll, upon 
which the tomb of the Ghazi — he who has killed an 
infidel — is depicted in heaven, no fewer than seven 
degrees above the Caaba itself. Even after the 
fighting — when the tribesmen reeled back from the 
terrible army they had assailed, leaving a quarter 
of their number on the field — the faith of the sur- 
vivors was unshaken. Only those who had doubted 
had perished, said the Mullah, and displayed a 
bruise which was, he informed them, the sole effect 
of a twelve-pound shrapnel shell on his sacred 

I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause 
and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact. 
The rumours and reports which reached the Mala- 
kand of the agitation in Upper Swat and among 
the surrounding tribes were fully appreciated by 
the Pathan Sepoys of the garrison. As July ad- 
vanced, several commanding officers were warned 
by their men, that great events were impending. 
Major Deane, the political agent, watched with 
great anxiety the daily progress of the fanatical 
movement. No one desires to be thought an 
alarmist, least of aU on the frontier where there is 
alv/ays danger. At length, however, he felt com- 
pelled to officially report the disquieting signs. 


Warnings were then issued to the officers in charge 
of the various posts, and the troops were practised 
in taking up alarm stations. By the 23rd of July 
all had been informed that the aspect of affairs was 
threatening, and ordered to observe every pre- 
caution. But to the last everybody doubted that 
there would be a rising, nor did any one imagine 
that even should one occur, it would lead to more 
than a skirmish. The natives were friendly and 
respectful. The valley smiled in fertile prosperity. 
It was not strange, that none could foresee the 
changes a week would bring, or guess that in a 
few days they would be fighting for their hves ; 
that they would carry fire and sword through the 
peaceful landscape ; that the polo ground would be 
the scene of a cavalry charge, or that the cheery 
barbarians among whom they had hved quietly for 
so many months would become maddened and 
ferocious savages. Never was transformation scene 
more complete, or more rapid. 

And all the while the rumours of coming war 
grew stronger and stronger. The bazaars of India, 
like the London coffee-houses of the last century, are 
always fuU of marvellous tales — the invention of 
fertile brains. A single unimportant fact is exag- 
gerated, and distorted, till it becomes unrecognis- 
able. From it, a thousand mid, illogical, and 
fantastic conclusions are drawn. These again are 
circulated as facts. So the game goes on. But 
amid all this falsehood, and idle report, there often 
lies important information. The bazaar stories not 
only indicate the state of native opinion, but not 


infrequently contain the germ of truth. In Eastern 
lands, news travels by strange channels, and often 
with unaccountable rapidity. As July advanced 
the bazaar at Malakand became full of tales of the 
Mad Fakir. His miracles passed from mouth to 
mouth, with suitable additions. 

A great day for Islam was at hand. A mighty 
man had arisen to lead them. The English would 
be swept away. By the time of the new moon, not 
one would remain. The Great Fakir had mighty 
armies concealed among the mountains. When the 
moment came these would sally forth — horse, foot 
and artillery — and destroy the infidel. It was even 
stated that the Mullah had ordered that no one 
should go near a certain hill, lest the heavenly hosts 
should be prematurely revealed. So ran the talk. 
But among all these froth}' fa.brications there lay a 
solemn warning. 

Though the British military and political officers 
were compelled to take official notice of the reports 
received with reference to the tribal gathering, and 
to make arrangements for the safety of their posts, 
they privately scouted the idea that any serious 
events were impending. 

On the afternoon of the 26th July the subalterns 
and younger officers of the Malakand garrison pro- 
ceeded to Khar to play polo. Thither also came 
Lieutenant Rattray, riding over from Chakdara fort. 
The game was a good one, and the tribesmen of the 
neighbouring village watched it as usual in little 
groups, with a keen interest. Nothing in their de- 
meanour betrayed their thoughts or intentions. 


The young soldiers saw nothing, knew nothing, and 
had they known would have cared less. There would 
be no rising. If there was, so much the better. 
They were ready for it. The game ended and the 
officers cantered back to their camps and posts. 

It was then that a strange incident occurred — 
an incident eminently characteristic of the frontier 
tribes. As the syces were putting the rugs and 
clothing on the polo ponies, and loitering about the 
ground after the game, the watching natives drew 
near and advised them to be off home at once, for 
that there was going to be a fight. They knew, these 
Pathans, what was coming. The wave of fanati- 
cism was sweeping down the valley. It would carry 
them away. They were powerless to resist. Like 
one who feels a fit coming on, they waited. Nor did 
they care very much. When the Mad Fakir arrived, 
they would fight and kill the infidels. In the mean- 
time there was no necessity to deprive them of their 
ponies. And so with motives, partly callous, partly 
sportsmanlike, and not without some faint suspicion 
of chivalry, they warned the native grooms, and 
these taking the hint reached the camp in safety. 

Late on this same afternoon Major Deane reported 
to Brigadier-General Meiklejohn, who commanded 
the Malakand garrison, that matters had assumed a 
very grave aspect ; that a great armed gathering 
had collected around the Mad Mullah's standard, 
and that an attack was probable. He advised that 
the Guides should be called up to reinforce the 
brigade. A telegram was immediately despatched 
to Mardan ordering them to march without delay. 


At 8.30 Lieutenant P. Eliott-Lockhaxt, who was the 
senior officer then with the regiment, received the 
order. At 1.30 a.m. they began their now famous 

After sending for the Guides, the brigadier, at 
about seven o'clock, interviewed his different com- 
manding officers, and instructed them to be prepared 
to turn out at any moment. Major Deane now re- 
ported that the Mad MuHah and his gathering were 
advancing down the valley, and recommended that 
the Amandara Pass, four miles av/ay, should be held. 
General Meiklejohn accordingly issued orders for a 
movable column, to be formed as follows : — 

45th Sikhs. 

2 Cos. 31st Punjaub Infantry. 
2 Guns No. 8 Mountain Battery. 
I Squadron nth Bengal Lancers. 

This force, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel 
McRae, 45th Sikhs, was to start at midnight and 
would be supported by the rest of the troops under 
command of the brigadier at 3 a.m. 

All preparations were swiftly made. At 9.45 a 
telegram from Chakdara — which got through just 
before the wire was cut — reported that large forces 
of Pathans were rapidly moving towards the camps. 
A quarter of an hour later a Jemadar of the Levies 
galloped in with the news that, to quote the official 
despatch : " The Fakir had passed Khar and was 
advancing on Malakand, that neither Levies nor 
people would act against him, and that the hills to 
the east of the camp were covered with Pathans.** 


As soon as the officers had returned from polo, 
they found plenty of work waiting for them. Bands- 
men and boys incapable of carrying arms had to be 
hurried up to the fort. Indents had to be made 
out for transport, rations and ammunition. There 
was much to do, and httle time to do it in. At 
length all was finished, and the troops were in readi- 
ness for their early morning start. At 9.30 the 
officers sat dowTi to dinner, still in their polo kit, 
which there had been no time to change. At 10 
o'clock they were discussing the prospects of the 
approaching march, and eagerly weighing the 
chances of a skirmish. The more sanguine asserted 
that there would be a fight — a small one, it was 
true — but still a skirmish. Many of those who had 
never been in action before congratulated themselves 
on the unlooked-for opportunity. The older and 
more experienced regarded the matter in the hght of 
a riot. They might have to fire on the tribesmen, 
but Swatis were such cowards that they would 
never stand up to the troops. Still it was a chance. 

Suddenly in the stillness of the night a bugle- 
call sounded on the parade ground of the " crater " 
camp. Every one sprang up. It was the " As- 
sembly." For a moment there was silence while 
the officers seized their swords and belts and 
hurriedly fastened them on. Several, thinking that 
it was merely the warning for the movable column 
to fall in, waited to hght their cigarettes. Then 
from many quarters the loud explosion of musketry 
burst forth, a sound which for six days and nights 
was to know no intermission, 



The attack on the Malakand and the great frontier 
war had begun. 

The noise of firing echoed among the hills. Its 
echoes are ringing still. One valley caught the 
waves of sound and passed them to the next, till the 
whole wide mountain region rocked with the con- 
fusion of the tumult. Slender wires and long-drawn 
cables carried the vibrations to the far-off countries 
of the West. Distant populations on the Continent 
of Europe thought that in them they detected the 
dull, discordant tones of decline and fall. Families 
in English homes feared that the detonations marked 
the death of those they loved — sons, brothers or 
husbands. Diplomatists looked wise, economists 
anxious, stupid people mysterious and knowledge- 
able. All turned to have the noise stopped. But 
that was a task which could not be accomplished 
until thousands of lives had been sacrificed and 
millions of money spent. 



Cry " Havoc " and let slip the dogs of war. 

" Julius C/Esar," Act iii,, Sc. i. 

The Surprise — The Defence of the Defile — " Rattray's 
Sikhs " — The Central Position— The Fight for the 
Quarter Guard — Lieutenant Costello, V.C. — Re- 
pulse of the Enemy — Casualties — Evacuation of 
the North Camp — Approach of Reinforcements — 
The Night of the 27th — The Serai — Lieutenant 
Climo's Counter Attack — Merciful Courage — The 
Night of the 29th — The Repulse of the Enemy — 

IT has long been recognised by soldiers of every 
nation that, to resist a vigorous onslaught by 
night, is almost the hardest task that troops can be 
called upon to perform. Panics, against which few 
brave men are proof, arise in a moment from such 
situations. Many a gallant soldier has lost his head. 
Many an experienced officer has been borne down 
unheeded by a crowd of fugitives. Regiments that 
have marched unflinchingly to almost certain death 
on the battlefield, become in an instant terrified and 


In the attack on the Malakand camp, all the 
elements of danger and disorder were displayed. 
The surprise, the darkness, the confused and broken 
nature of the ground ; the unknown numbers of 
the enemy ; their merciless ferocity ; every appal- 
Hng circumstance was present. But there were 
men who were equal to the occasion. As soon as 
the alarm sounded Lieutenant-Colonel McRae of 
the 45th Sikhs, a holder of the Gold Medal of the 
Royal Humane Society and of long experience in 
Afghanistan and on the Indian frontier, ran to the 
Quarter Guard, and collecting seven or eight men, 
sent them under command of Major Taylor, of the 
same regiment, down the Buddhist road to try 
and check the enemy's advance. Hurriedly assem- 
bhng another dozen men, and leaving the Adjutant, 
Lieutenant Barff, with directions to bring on more, 
he ran with his httle party after Taylor in the direc- 
tion of the entrance gorge of the Kotal camp. Two 
roads give access to the Malakand camp, from the 
plain of Khar. At one point the Buddhist road, 
the higher of the two, passes through a narrow defile 
and turns a sharp corner. Here, if anywhere, the 
enemy might be held or at least delayed until the 
troops got under arms. Overtaking Major Taylor, 
Colonel McRae led the party, which then amounted 
to perhaps twenty men, swiftly dowTi the road. It 
was a race on which the lives or hundreds depended. 
If the enemy could turn the corner, nothing could 
check their rush, and the few men who tried to 
oppose them would be cut to pieces. The Sikhs 
arrived first, but by a very httle. As they turned 





the comer they met the mass of the enemy, nearly 
a thousand strong, armed chiefly with swords and 
knives, creeping silently and stealthily up the gorge, 
in the hope and assurance of rushing the camp and 
massacring every soul in it. The whole road was 
crowded with the wald figures. McRae opened fire 
at once. Volley after volley was poured into the 
dense mass, at deadly range. At length the Sikhs 
fired independently. This checked the enemy, who 
shouted and yelled in fury at being thus stopped. 
The small party of soldiers then fell back, pace by 
pace, firing incessantly, and took up a position in a 
cutting about fifty yards behind the corner. Their 
flanks were protected on the left by high rocks, and 
on the right by boulders and rough ground, over 
which in the darkness it was impossible to move. 
The road was about five yards \\dde. As fast as the 
tribesmen turned the corner they were shot down. 
It was a strong position. 

In that strait path a thousand 
Might well be stopped by three. 

Being thus effectively checked in their direct 
advance, the tribesmen began climbing up the hill 
to the left and throwing down rocks and stones on 
those who barred their path. They also fired their 
rifles round the comer, but as they were unable to 
see the soldiers without exposing themselves, most 
of their bullets went to the right. 

The band of Sikhs were closely packed in the 
cutting, the front rank kneeling to fire. Nearly all 


were struck by stones and rocks. Major Taylor, 
displaying great gallantry, was mortally wounded. 
Several of the Sepoys were killed. Colonel McRae 
himself was accidentally stabbed in the neck by a 
•bayonet and became covered with blood. But he 
called upon the men to maintain the good name of 
" Rattray's Sikhs," and to hold their position till 
death or till the regiment came up. And the sol- 
diers replied by loudly shouting the Sikh warcry, 
and defying the enemy to advance. 

After twenty minutes of desperate fighting, Lieu- 
tenant Barff arrived with tliirty more men. He 
v/as only just in time. The enemy had already 
worked round Colonel McRae's right, and the de- 
struction of the few soldiers left ahve could not long 
have been delayed. The reinforcement, climbing 
up the hillside, drove the enemiy back and protected 
the flank. But the remainder of the regiment was 
now at hand. Colonel McRae then fell back to a 
more extended position along a ridge about fifty 
yards further up the road, and reinforcing Lieutenant 
Barff's party, repulsed all attacks during the night. 
About 2 A.M. the tribesmen, finding they could make 
no progress, drew off, leaving many dead. 

The presence of mind, tactical knowledge and 
braver}^ displayed in this affair are thus noticed in 
the official despatches by General Meiklejohn : — 

" There is no doubt that the gallant resistance 
made by this small body in the gorge, against vastly 
superior numbers, till the arrival of the rest of the 
regiment, sa^-ed the camp from being rushed on 
that side, and I cannot speak too highly of the 


behaviour of Lieutenant-Colonel McRae and Major 
Taylor on this occasion." 

While these things were passing on the right, the 
other attacks of the enemy had met with more suc- 
cess. The camp was assaulted simultaneously on 
the three sides. The glow of the star shells showed 
that the north camp was also engaged. The enemy 
had been checked on the Buddhist road, by Colonel 
McRae and the 45th Sikhs, but another great mass 
of men forced their way along the Graded road in 
the centre of the position. On the first sound of 
firing the inlying picket of the 24th Punjaub In- 
fantry doubled out to reinforce the pickets on the 
road, and in the water-gorge. They only arrived 
in time to find these being driven in by overpower- 
ing numbers of the enemy. Hundreds of fierce 
swordsmen swarmed into the bazaar and into the 
sevai, a small enclosure which adjoined. Sharp- 
shooters scrambled up the surrounding hills, and 
particularly from one ragged, rock-strewn peak 
called Gibraltar, kept up a tremendous fire. 

The defence of the left and centre of the camp 
was confided to the 24th Punjaub Infantry. One 
company of this regiment under Lieutenant Climo, 
charging across the football ground, cleared the 
bazaar at the point of the bayonet. The scene at 
this moment was vivid and terrible. The bazaar 
was crowded with tribesmen. The soldiers rushing 
forward amid loud cheers, plunged their bayonets 
into their furious adversaries. The sound of the 
hacldng of swords, the screams of the unfortunate 
shopkeepers, the yells of the Ghazis were plainly 

heard above the ceaseless roll of musketry. The 
enemy now tried to force their way back into the 
bazaar, but the entrance was guarded by the troops 
and held against all assaults till about 10.45. The 
left flank of the company was then turned, and the 
pressure became so severe that they were with- 
drawn to a more interior line of defence, and took 
up a position along the edge of the " Sappers' 
and Miners' enclosure." Another company held the 
approaches from the north camp. The remainder 
of the regiment and No. 5 company Sappers and 
Miners, were kept in readiness to reinforce any part 
of the line. 

It is necessary to record the actual movements of 
the troops in detail, but I am anxious above all 
things to give the reader a general idea. The enemy 
had attacked in tremendous strength along the two 
roads that gave access on the eastern side to the 
great cup of the Malakand. On the right road, they 
were checked by the brilliant movement of Colonel 
McRae and the courage of his regiment. Pouring 
in overwhelming force along the left road, they had 
burst into the camp itself, bearing down all opposi- 
tion. The defenders, unable to hold the extended 
line of the rim, had been driven to take up a central 
position in the bottom of the cup. This central 
position comprised the " Sappers' and Miners' en- 
closure," the commissariat hues and the Field En- 
gineer Park. It was commanded on every side by 
the fire from the rim. But the defenders stood at 
bay, determined at all costs to hold their ground, 
bad though it was. 


Meanwhile the enemy rushed to the attack with 
wild courage and reckless fury. Careless of life, 
they charged the slender hne of defence. Twice 
they broke through and penetrated the enclosure. 
They were met by men as bold as they. The fight- 
ing becam.e desperate. The general himself hurried 
from point to point, animating the soldiers and join- 
ing in the defence with sword and revolver. As 
soon as the enemy broke into the commissariat 
hues they rushed into the huts and sheds eager for 
plunder and victims. 

Lieutenant ^Manley, the Brigade Commissariat 
Officer, stuck stubbornly to his post, and with Ser- 
geant Harrington endeavoured to hold the hut in 
which he Uved. The savage tribesmen burst in the 
door and crowded* into the room. What followed 
reads hke a romance. 

The officer opened fire at once with his revolver. 
He was instantly cut dowm and hacked to pieces. 
In the struggle the lamp was smashed. The room 
became pitch dark. The sergeant, knocking dov/n 
his assailants, got free for a moment and stood 
against the wall motionless. Having killed Manley, 
the tribesmen now began to search for the sergeant, 
feeling with their hands along the wall and groping 
in the darkness. At last, finding no one, they con- 
cluded he had escaped, and hurried out to look for 
others. Sergeant Harrington remained in the hut 
till it was retaken some hours later, and so saved 
his Hfe. 

Another vigorous attack was made upon the 
Quarter Guard. Lieutenant Watling, who met it 


with his company of sappers, transfixed a Ghazi with 
his sword, but such was the iwry of the fanatic that 
as he fell dead he cut at the officer and wounded 
him severely. The company were driven back. 
The Quarter Guard was captured, and with it the 
reserve ammunition of the sappers. Lieutenant 
WatUng was carried m by his men, and, as soon as 
he reached the dressing station, reported the loss of 
this important post. 

Brigadier-General Meiklejohn at once ordered a 
party of the 24th to retake it from the enemy. 
Few men could be spared from the line of defence. 
At length a small but devoted band collected. It 
consisted of Captain Holland, Lieutenant Climo, 
Lieutenant Manley, R.E., the general's orderly, a 
Sepoy of the 45th Sikhs, two or three sappers and 
three men of the 24th ; in all about a dozen. 

The general placed himself at their head. The 
officers drew their revolvers. The men were in- 
structed to use the bayonet only. Then they 
advanced. The ground is by nature broken and 
confused to an extraordinary degree. Great rocks, 
undulations and trees rendered all movements diffi- 
cult. Frequent tents, sheds and other buildings 
increased the intricacies. Amidst such surround- 
ings were the enemy, numerous and well armed. 
The twelve men charged. The tribesmen advanced 
to meet them. The officers shot down man after 
man with their pistols. The soldiers bayoneted 
others. The enemy drew off discomfited, but half 
the party were killed or wounded. The orderly 
was shot dead. A sapper and a havildar of the 


24th were severely wounded. The general himself 
was struck by a sword on the neck. Luckily the 
weapon turned in his assailant's hand, and only 
caused a bruise. Captain Holland was shot through 
the back at close quarters by a man concealed in 
a tent. The bullet, which caused four wounds, 
grazed his spine. The party were now too few to 
effect anything. The survivors halted. Lieutenant 
Climo took the wounded officer back, and collecting 
a dozen more men of the 24th, returned to the attack. 
The second attempt to regain the Quarter Guard 
was also unsuccessful, and the soldiers recoiled with 
further loss ; but with that undaunted spirit which 
refuses to admit defeat they continued their efforts, 
and at the third charge dashed across the open 
space, bowhng over and crushing back the enemy, 
and the post w^as recovered. All the ammunition 
had, however, been carried off by the enemy, and as 
the expenditure of that night had already been enor- 
mous, it was a serious loss. The commissariat hues 
were at length cleared of the tribesmen, and such 
of the garrison as could be spared were employed 
in putting up a hasty defence across the south 
entrance of the enclosure, and clearing away the 
cook-houses and other shelters, v/hich might be 
seized by the enemy. 

The next morning no fewer than twenty-nine 
corpses of tribesmen were found round the cook- 
house, and in the open space over which the three 
charges had taken place. This, w^hen it is remem- 
bered that perhaps twice as many had been wounded 
and had crawled away, enables an estimate to be 


formed of the desperate nature of the fight for the 
Quarter Guard. 

All this time the fire from the rim into the cup 
had been causing severe and continual losses. The 
enemy surrounding the enclosure on three sides, 
brought a cross fire to bear on its defenders, and 
made frequent charges right up to the breastwork. 
Bullets were fij^ng in all directions, and there was 
no question of shelter. Major Herbert, D.A.A.G., 
was hit early in the night. Later on Lieutenant- 
Colonel Lamb received the dangerous wound in his 
thigh which caused his death a few days afterwards. 
Many Sepoys were also killed and wounded. The 
command of the 24th Punjaub Infantry devolved 
upon a subaltern officer, Lieutenant Climo. The 
regimient, however, will never be in better hands. 

At about one o'clock, during a lull in the firing, 
the company which was Hning the east face of 
the enclosure heard feeble cries of help. A wounded 
havildar of the 24th was lying near the bazaar. He 
had fallen in the first attack, shot in the shoulder. 
The tribesmen, giving him two or three deep sword 
cuts to finish him, had left him for dead. He now 
appealed for help. The football ground on which 
he lay was swept by the fire of the troops, and over- 
run by the enemy's swordsmen, yet the cry for help 
did not pass unheeded. Taking two Sepoys with 
him, Lieutenant E. W. Costello, 24th Punjaub In- 
fantry, ran out into the deadly space, and, in spite 
of the heavy fire, brought the wounded soldier in 
safely. For this heroic action he has since received 
the Victoria Cross. 


As the night wore on, the attack of the enemy 
became so vigorous, -that the brigadier decided to 
call for a reinforcement of a hundred men from the 
garrison of the fort. This work stood high on a 
hill and was impregnable to an enemy unprovided 
with field guns. Lieutenant Rawhns volunteered to 
try and reach it with the order. Accompanied by 
three orderlies, he started. He had to make his 
way through much broken ground infested by the 
enemy. One man sprang at him and struck him 
on the wrist with a sword, but the subaltern, firing 
his revolver, shot him dead, reached the fort in 
safety, and brought back the sorely-needed rein- 

It was thought that the enemy would make a final 
effort to capture the enclosure before dawn, that 
being the hour which Afghan tribesmen usually 
select. But they had lost heavUy, and at about 
3.30 A.M. began to carry away their dead and 
wounded. The firing did not, however, lessen until 
4.15 A.M., when the sharpshooters withdrew to the 
heights, and the fusillade dwindled to " sniping " at 
long range. 

The first night of the defence of the Malakand 
camp was over. The enemy, with all the advan- 
tages of surprise, position and great numbers, had 
failed to overcome the slender garrison. Every- 
where they had been repulsed with slaughter. But 
the British losses had been severe. 

British Officers. 
Killed — Hon. Lieutenant L. Manley, Commissariat Department. 
Wounded dangerously — Major W. W. Taylor, 45th Sikhs. 


Wounded severely — Lieut. -Colonel J. Lamb, 24th P.I. 
„ Major L. Herbert, D.A.A.G. 

„ „ Captain H. F. Holland, 24th P.I. 

„ ,, Lieutenant F. W. Watling, Q.O. Sappers 

and Miners. 

Of these Lieut. -Colonel Lamb and Major Taylor 
died of their wounds. 

Native Ranks. 

Killed 21 

Wounded 31 

As soon as the first light of morning began to grow 
in the valley, two companies of the 24th advanced 
and cleared the bazaar of such of the enemy as had 
remained behind to plunder. The whole place had 
been thoroughly ransacked, and everything of value 
destroyed or carried off. The native manager had 
had a strange experience, and one which few men 
would envy. He had remained hidden in the back 
of a tent during the whole night in equal danger 
and terror of the bullets of the soldiers and the 
swords of the enemy. Hearing the friendly voices, 
he emerged uninjured from his retreat. 

Desultory filing was maintained by the tribesmen 
all day. 

While the close and desperate fighting, which has 
been described, was raging in the south camp, the 
north camp had not been seriously involved, and 
had spent a quiet, though anxious night. On the 
sound of the firing on the Kotal being heard, four 
guns of No. 8 Mountain Battery were moved over 
to the south-east side of the camp, and several star 


shells were fired. No large body of the enemy was 
however discovered. Twice during the night the 
camp was approached by the tribesmen, but a few 
rounds of shrapnel were sufficient to drive these 

When General Meiklejohn found that the garrison 
of the north camp had not been severely engaged, 
he ordered a force consisting of two guns and the 
31st Punjaub Infantry, under Major Gibbs, covered 
by forty sowars of the nth Bengal Lancers, and sup- 
ported by a \\dng of the 24th, to move out, recon- 
noitre the valley and clear it, as much as possible, 
of the enemy. The column advanced in pursuit as 
far as Bedford Hill. Here they came upon a large 
gathering of tribesmen, and as it was now evident 
that a great tribal rising had broken out. Major 
Gibbs was ordered to return and to bring his stores 
and troops into the Kotal camp wdthout delay. 
The infantry and guns thereupon retired and fell 
back on the camp, covered by the 24th Punjaub 

As this regiment was being withdrawn, a sudden 
attack was made from the high ground above the 
Buddhist road, and directed against the left flank 
of the troops. A front was immediately shown, and 
the 24th advanced to meet their assailants. Lieu- 
tenant Climo, who commanded, detached a company 
to the right, and by this turning movement drove 
them off, inflicting some loss and capturing a stan- 
dard. This officer's skill and conduct in this retire- 
ment was again the subject of commendation in 
despatches. The troops reached their respective 


camps at about ii o'clock. Meanwhile the cavalry 
had been ordered to push on, if possible, to Chakdara 
and reinforce the garrison at that post. The task 
was one of considerable danger, but by crossing 
and recrossing the Swat River, the squadron man- 
aged to cut their way through the tribesmen and 
reached the fort with slight loss. This brilliant ride 
Will receive a fuller description in a later chapter. 

The evacuation of the north camp proceeded very 
slowly. The troops packed up their kits with great 
deliberation, and applications were made for trans- 
port. None was, however, available. All the 
camels were at Dargai, on the Indian side of the 
mountains. Repeated orders to hurry were sent 
from the Kotal. All hated leaving their belongings 
behind, having no confidence in the liberahty of a 
paternal Government. As the afternoon passed, 
the aspect of the enemy became very threatening 
and formidable. Great numbers drew near to the 
camp, and the guns were compelled to fire a good 
many rounds. At length, at 4 o'clock, imperative 
orders were sent that the north camp was to be at 
once abandoned, that the force there was to march 
to the Kotal, and that all baggage and stores, not 
yet removed, were to be left where they were. 

All the tents were struck, but nothing else could 
be done, and to the deep disgust of all — officers and 
men — their property was left to the mercies of the 
enemy. During the night it was all looted and 
burnt. Many of the officers thus lost every stitch 
of clothing they possessed. The flames rising from 
the scene of destruction were visible far and wide. 


and the tribesmen in the most distant valleys were 
encouraged to hurry to complete the slaughter of 
the accursed infidels. 

It cannot be doubted, however, that the concen- 
tration of the troops was a wise and judicious step. 
The garrison of the Kotal and south camp was 
insufficient, and, whatever happened, it was better 
for the troops to stand or fall together. The situa- 
tion was also aggravated by the appearance of 
large numbers of tribesmen from the Utman Khel 
country, who crowded the hills to the west of the 
camp, and thus compelled the defenders to hold a 
greatly extended line. The abandonment of the 
north camp was carried out none too soon, for the 
enemy pressed the withdrawal of the troops, and 
they reached the south camp under cover of the fire 
of the 24th Punjaub Infantry, and the Guides 
Cavalry. These latter had arrived in camp at 8.30 
that morning after marching all night. They found 
plenty of employment. 

The telegraph had carried the news of the events 
of the night to all parts of the world. In England 
those returning from Goodwood Races read the 
first details of the fighting on the posters of the 
evening papers. At Simla, the Government of 
India awoke to find themselves confronted with 
another heavy task. Other messages recalled all 
officers to their regiments, and summoned reinforce- 
ments to the scene by road and rail. In the small 
hours of the 27th, the officers of the nth Bengal 
Lancers at Nowshera were aroused by a frantic tele- 
graph operator, who was astounded by the news 

his machine was chcking out. This man in his 
shirt sleeves, with a wild eye, and holding an un- 
loaded revolver by the muzzle, ran round waking 
every one. The whole country was up. The Mala- 
kand garrison was being overwhelmed by thousands 
of tribesmen. All the troops were to march at once. 
He brandished copies of the wires he had received. 
In a few moments official instructions arrived. The 
nth Bengal Lancers, the 38th Dogras and the 35th 
Sikhs started at dawn. No. i and No. 7 British 
Mountain Batteries were also ordered up. The 
Guides Cavalry had already arrived. Their infantry 
under Lieutenant Lockhart reached the Kotal at 
7,30 P.M. on the 27th, having, in spite of the intense 
heat and choking dust, covered thirty-two miles in 
seventeen and a half hours. This wonderful feat 
was accomphshed without impairing the efficiency 
of the soldiers, who were sent into the picket hne, 
and became engaged as soon as they arrived. An 
officer who commanded the Dargai post told me, 
that, as they passed the guard there, they shouldered 
arms with parade precision, as if to show that 
twenty-six miles under the hottest sun in the world 
would not take the polish off the Corps of Guides. 
Then they breasted the long ascent to the top of the 
pass, encouraged by the sound of the firing, which 
grew louder at every step. 

Help in plenty was thus approaching as fast as 
eager men could march, but meanwhile the garrison 
had to face the danger as best they could alone. As 
the 31st Punjaub Infantry, who had been the last 
to leave the north camp, were arriving at the Kotal, 


about 1000 tribesmen descended in broad daylight 
and with the greatest boldness, and threatened their 
left flank. They drove in two pickets of the 24th, 
and pressed forward vigorously. Lieutenant Climo 
with two companies advanced up the hill to meet 
them, supported by the fire of two guns of the Moun- 
tain Battery. A bayonet charge was completely 
successful. The officers were close enough to make 
effective use of their revolvers. Nine bodies of the 
enemy were left on the ground, and a standard was 
captured. The tribesmen then drew off, and the 
garrison prepared for the attack, which they knew 
would come with the dark. 

As the evening drew on the enemy were observed 
assembling in ever-increasing ' numbers. ^ Great 
crowds of them could be seen streaming along the 
Chakdara road, and thickly dotting the hills with 
spots of white. They all wore white as yet. The 
news had not reached Buner, and the sombre-clad 
warriors of Ambeyla were still absent. The glare 
of the flames from the north camp was soon to 
summon them to the attack of their ancient enemies. 
The spectacle as night fell was strange, ominous, 
but not unpicturesque. Gay banners of every 
colour, shape and device, waved from the surrounding 
hills. The sunset caught the flashing of sword- 
blades behind the spurs and ridges. The numerous 
figures of the enemy moved busily about preparing 
for the attack. A dropping fire from the sharp- 
shooters added an appropriate accompaniment. In 
the middle, at the bottom of the cup, was the 
" crater " camp and the main enclosure with the 


smoke of the evening meal rising in the air. The 
troops moved to their stations, and, as the shadows 
grew, the firing swelled into a loud, incessant roar. 

The disposition of the troops on the night of the 
27th was as follows : — 

1. On the right Colonel McRae, with 45th Sikhs 
and two guns supported by 100 men of the Guides 
Infantry, held almost the same position astride the 
Buddhist road as before. 

2. In the centre the enclosure and Graded road 
were defended by — 

31st Punjaub Infantry. 
No. 5 Company Q.O. Sappers and Miners. 
The Guides. 
. Two Guns. 

3. On the left the 24th Punjaub Infantry, with the 
two remaining guns under Lieutenant Chmo, held 
the approaches from the abandoned north camp 
and the fort. 

Most of this extended line, which occupied a great 
part of the rim, v/as formed by a chain of pickets, 
detached from one another, and fortified by stone 
breastworks, with supports in rear. But in the 
centre the old line of the "Sappers' and Miners' en- 
closure " was adhered to. The bazaar was left to 
the enemy, but the serai, about a hundred yards in 
front of the main entrenchment, was held by a picket 
of twenty-four men of the 31st Punjaub Infantry, 
under Subadar Syed Ahmed Shah. Here it was 
that the tragedy of the night occurred. 

At eight o'clock, the tribesmen attacked in tremen- 


dous force all along the line. The firing at once 
became intense and continuous. The expenditure 
of ammunition by the troops was very great, and 
many thousands of rounds were discharged. On 
the right Colonel McRae and his Sikhs were re- 
peatedly charged by the swordsmen, many of whom 
succeeded in forcmg their way into the pickets and 
perished by the bayonet. Others reached the two 
guns and were cut down while attacking the gunners. 
All assaults were however beaten off. The tribes- 
men suffered terrible losses. The casualties among 
the Sikhs were also severe. In the morning Colonel 
McRae advanced from his defences, and, covered by 
the fire of his two guns, cleared the ground in his 
front of the enemy. 

The centre was again the scene of severe fighting. 
The tribesmen poured into the bazaar and attacked 
the serai on all sides. This post was a mud-walled 
enclosure about fifty yards square. It was loop- 
holed for musketry, but had no flank defences. The 
enemy made determined efforts to capture the place 
for several hours. Meanwhile, so tremendous was 
the fire of the troops in the main enclosure, that the 
attack upon the serai was hardly noticed. For six 
hours the picket there held out against all assaults, 
but the absence of fiank defences enabled the enemy 
to come close up to the walls. They then began to 
make holes through them, and to burrow underneath. 
The Httle garrison rushed from place to place re- 
pelling these attacks. But it was like caulking a 
sieve. At length the tribesmen burst in from several 
quarters, and the sheds inside caught fire. When 


all the defenders except four were killed or wounded, 
the Subadar, himself struck by a bullet, ordered the 
place to be evacuated, and the survivors escaped by 
a ladder over the back wall, carrying their wounded 
with them. The bodies of the killed were found next 
morning, extraordinarily mutilated. 

The defence of this post to the bitter end must 
be regarded as a fine feat of arms. Subadar Syed 
Ahmed Shah was originally promoted to a com- 
mission for an act of conspicuous bravery, and his 
gallant conduct on this occasion is the subject of a 
special paragraph in despatches.* 

On the left, the 24th Punjaub Infantry were also 
hotly engaged, and Lieutenant Costello received 
his first severe wound from a bullet, which passed 
through his back and arm. Towards morning the 
enemy began to press severely. Whereupon Lieu- 
tenant Chmo, always incHned to bold and vigorous 
action, advanced from the breastworks to meet 
them with tw^o companies. The tribesmen held 
their ground and maintained a continual fire from 
Martini-Henry rifles. They also rolled down great 
stones upon the companies. The 24th continued 
to advance, and drove the enemy from point to 
point, and position to position, pursuing them for a 
distance of two miles. " Gallows Tree " hill, against 
which the first charge of the counter attack was 
deUvered, was held by nearly 1000 tribesmen. On 
such crowded masses, the fire of the troops was 
deadly. The enemy left forty dead in the path of 

* The Subadar and the surviving Sepoys have since received 
the "Order of Merit." 


Lieutenant Climo's counter attack, and were ob- 
served carrying off many wounded. As they re- 
treated, many took refuge in the village of Jalalkot. 
The guns were hurried up, and ten shells were 
thrown into their midst, causing great slaughter. 
The result of this bold stroke was, that the enemy 
during the rest of the fighting invariably evacuated 
the hills before daylight enabled the troops to 
assume the offensive. 

Thus the onslaught of the tribesmen had again 
been successfully repelled by the Malakand garrison. 
Many had been killed and w^ounded, but all the 
tribes for a hundred miles around v/ere hurrying to 
the attack, and their number momentarily increased. 
The following casualties occurred on the night of the 
27th : — 

British Officer. 
Wounded — Lieutenant E. W. Costello. 

Native Ranks. 

KiUed 12 

Wounded 29 

During the day the enemy retired to the plain of 
Khar to refresh themselves. Great numbers of 
Bunerwals now joined the gathering. The garrison 
were able to distinguish these new-comers from the 
Swatis, Utman Khels, Mamunds, Salarzais and 
others, by the black or dark-blue clothes they wore. 
The troops were employed in strengthening the 
defences, and improving the shelters. The tribes- 
men kept up a harassing and annoying long-range 
fire, killing several horses of the Guides Cavalry. 


Towards evening they advanced to renew the 
attack, carrying hundreds of standards. 

As darkness fell, heavy firing recommenced along 
the whole front. The enemy had apparently plenty 
of ammunition, and replied with effect to the heavy 
fire of the troops. The arrangement of the regiments 
was the same as on the previous night. On the right, 
Colonel McRae once more held his own against all 
attacks. In the centre, severe fighting ensued. 
The enemy charged again and again up to the 
breastwork of the enclosure. They did not succeed 
in penetrating. Three officers and several men were 
however wounded by the fire. Lieutenant Maclean, 
of the Guides Cavalry, v/ho was attached temporarily 
to the 31st Punjaub Infantry, had a wonderful escape. 
A bullet entered his mouth and passed through his 
cheek without injuring the bone in any way. He 
continued on duty, and these pages wiU record his 
tragic but glorious death a few weeks later at 

Lieutenant Ford was dangerously wounded in the 
shoulder. The bullet cut the artery, and he was 
bleeding to death when Surgeon-Lieutenant J. H. 
Hugo came to his aid. The fire was too hot to 
allow of lights being used. There was no cover of 
any sort. It was at the bottom of the cup. Never- 
theless the surgeon struck a match at the peril of 
his life and examined the wound. The match went 
out amid a splutter of bullets, which kicked up the 
dust all around, but by its uncertain light he saw 
the nature of the injury. The officer had already 
fainted from the loss of blood. The doctor seized 


the artery, and, as no other Hgature was forthcom- 
ing, he remained under fire for three hours holding 
a man's Ufe, between his finger and thumb. When 
at length it seemed that the enemy had broken into 
the camp he picked up the still unconscious officer 
in his arms, and, without relaxing his hold, bore him 
to a place of safety. His arm was for many hours 
paralysed with cramp from the effects of the exertion 
of compressing the artery. 

I think there are few, whatever may be their views 
or interests, who will not applaud this splendid act 
of devotion. The profession of medicine, and sur- 
gery, must always rank as the most noble that men 
can adopt. The spectacle of a doctor in action 
among soldiers, in equal danger and with equal 
courage, saving life where all others are taking it, 
allaying pain where all others are causing it, is one 
which must always seem glorious, whether to God 
or man. It is impossible to imagine any situation 
from which a human being might better leave this 
world, and embark on the hazards of the Unknown. 

All through the night, the enemy continued their 
attacks. They often succeeded in reaching the 
breastworks — only to die on the bayonets of the 
defenders. The guns fired case shot, with terrible 
effect, and when morning dawned the position was 
still held by the Imperial Forces. The casualties 
of the night were as follows : — 

British Officers. 
Wounded severely — Lieutenant H. B. Ford, 31st Punjaub Infantry. 

» ,. „ H. L. S. Maclean, the Guides. 

Wounded slightly— Lieutenant G. Swinley, 31st Punjaub In- 


Native Ranks. 

Killed 2 

Wounded 13 

On the morning of the 29th signalling communi- 
cation with Chakdara was for a few moments re- 
established. The garrison of that post announced 
their safety, and that all attacks had been repulsed 
with heavy loss, but they reported that ammunition 
and food were both running short. During the day 
the enemy again retired to the plain to rest, and 
prepare for the great attack, which they intended 
making that night. The hour would be propitious. 
It was Jumarat, on which day the prophet watches 
with especial care over the interests of those who 
die for the faith. Besides, the moon was full, and 
had not the Great Fakir declared that this should 
be the moment of victory ? The Mullah exhorted 
them all to the greatest efforts, and declared that 
he would himself lead the assault. To-night the 
infidels would be utterly destroyed. 

Meanwhile the troops were busily employed, in 
spite of their terrible fatigues, in strengthening the 
defences. The bazaar and the serai were levelled. 
Trees were blown up, and a clear field of fire was 
obtained in front of the central enclosure. Great 
bonfires were also prepared on the approaches, 
to enable the soldiers to take good aim at their 
assailants, while they were silhouetted against the 
light. In such occupations the day passed. 

The tribesmen continued to fire at long range and 
shot several horses and mules. These sharpshooters 
enjoyed themselves immensely. After the relief of 


Chakdara, it was found that many of them had 
made most comfortable and effective shelters among 
the rocks. One man, in particular, had ensconced 
himself behind an enormous boulder, and had built 
a little wall of stone, conveniently loopholed, to 
protect himself when firing. The overhanging rock 
sheltered him from the heat of the sun. By his 
side were his food and a large box of cartridges. 
Here for the whole week he had lived, steadily 
dropping bullets into the camp and firing at what 
an officer described as all " objects of interest." 
What could be more attractive ? 

At four o'clock in the afternoon Major Stuart 
Beatson, commanding the nth Bengal Lancers, 
arrived with his leading squadron. He brought a 
small supply of ammunition, which the garrison was 
in sore need of, the expenditure each night being 
tremendous, some regiments firing as much as 
30,000 rounds. The 35th Sikhs and 38th Dogras 
under Colonel Reid arrived at Dargai, at the foot of 
the pass, in the evening. The}- had marched all day 
in the most intense heat. How terrible that march 
'must have been, may be judged from the fact, that 
in the 35th Sikhs twenty-one men actually died on 
the road of heat apoplexy. The fact that these men 
marched till they dropped dead, is another proof of 
the soldierly eagerness displayed by all ranks to get 
to the front. Brigadier-General Meiklejohn, feeling 
confidence in his abiUty to hold his own mth the 
troops he had, ordered them to remain halted at 
Dargai, and rest the next day. 

The attack came with the night, but the defences 


in the centre had been much improved, and the 
tribesmen were utterly unable to cross the cleared 
glacis, which now stretched in front of the enclosure. 
They, however, assailed both flanks with deter- 
mination, and the firing everyv^here became heavy. 
At 2 A.M. the great attack was delivered. Along 
the whole front and from every side enormous 
numbers swarmed to the assault. On the right 
and left, hand-to-hand fighting took place. Colonel 
McRae again held his position, but many of the 
tribesmen died under the very m.uzzles of the rifles. 
The 24th Punjaub Infantry on the left Vv^ere the most 
severely engaged. The enemy succeeded in break- 
ing into the breastworks, and close fighting ensued, 
in which Lieutenant Costello was again severely 
wounded. But the fire of the troops was too hot 
for anything to live in their front. At 2.30 the Mad 
Mullah being wounded, another Mullah killed and 
several hundreds of tribesmen slain, the whole 
attack collapsed. Nor was it renewed again with 
vigour. The enemy recognised that their chance 
of taking the Malakand had passed. 

The casualties were as follows on the night of the' 
29th : — 

British Officers. 
Wounded severely — Lieutenant E. W. Costello, 24th P.I., who 
had already been severely wounded, but 
continued to do duty. 
„ ,, Lieutenant F. A. Wynter, R.A. 

Native Ranks. 

Killed I 

Wounded 17 

All the next day the enemy could be seen dragging 


the dead away, and carrying the wounded over the 
hills to their villages. Reinforcements, however, 
joined them, and they renewed their attack, but 
without much spirit, at 9.30 p.m. They were again 
repulsed with loss. Once, during a thunderstorm 
that broke over the camp, they charged the 45th 
Sikhs' position, and were driven off v/ith the bayonet. 
Only two men were wounded during the night. 

In the morning the 38th Dogras and 35th Sikhs 
marched into the camp. The enemy continued 
firing into the entrenchments at long range, but 
without effect. They had evidently reahsed that 
the Malakand was too strong to be taken. The 
troops had a quiet night, and the weary, worn-out 
men got a little needed sleep. Thus the long and 
persistent attack on the British frontier station of 
Malakand languished and ceased. The tribesmen, 
sick of the slaughter at this point, concentrated 
their energies on Chakdara, which they believed 
must fall into their hands. To relieve this hard- 
pressed post now became the duty of the garrison 
of Malakand. 

The chapter, which may now appropriately end, 
has described in detail, and, necessarily, at length, 
the defence of an outpost of our Empire. A 
surprise, followed by a sustained attack, has been 
resisted. The enemy, repulsed at every point, have 
abandoned the attempt, but surround and closely 
watch the defences. The troops will now assume 
the offensive, and the hour of reprisals will 

The casualties sustained by the Malakand gar- 


rison between 26th July and ist August were 
as follows : — 

British Officers Killed and Died of Wounds — 3. 
Lieutenant-Colonel J. Lamb, 24th Punjaub Infantry. 
Major W. W. Taylor, 45th Sikhs. 
Lieutenant L. Manley, Commissariat. 

Wounded — 10. 
Major L. Herbert, D.A.A.G. 
Captain G. Baldwin, D.S.O., Guides Cavalry. 
Captain H. F. Holland, 24th Punjaub Infantry. 
Lieutenant F. A. Wynter, R.A. 
F. W. Watling, R.E. 
„ E. W. Costello, 24th Punjaub Infantry. 

,, H. B. Ford, 31st Punjaub Infantry. 

,, H. L. S. Maclean, Guides Cavalry. 

2nd Lieutenant G. Swinley, 31st Punjaub Infantry. 
„ C. V. Keyes, Guides Cavalry. 

Native Officers Wounded — 7. 

Total Officers Killed and Wounded — 20. 

British Non-Commissioned Officer Killed. 
Sergeant F. Byrne, R.E. 

Native Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates. 

Killed. Wounded. 

No. 8 Bengal Mountain Battery 5 

nth Bengal Lancers 3 

No. 5 Company Q.O. Sappers and Miners .3 18 

24th Punjaub Infantry 3 14 

31st ,, ,, 12 32 

38th Dogras i 

45th Sikhs 4 28 

0.0. Corps of Guides 3 27 

Total Non-Commissioned Officers and Men Killed and 
Wounded — 153. 



The Force of Circumstances — Formation of the Mala- 
kand Field Force — Sir Bindon Blood — Chakdara 
in Danger — First Attempt to Relieve Chakdara — 
Arrival of the General — His Dispositions — The Key 
of the Position — The Morning of the 2nd of August 
■ — Rout of the Enemy — The Cavalry Pursuit — 
Vengeance — Chakdara Relieved — Casualties. 

WHILE the events described in the last chapter 
had been watched with interest and attention 
in all parts of the world, they were the subject of 
anxious consultation in the Council of the Governor- 
General. It was only natural that the Viceroy, him- 
self, should view with abhorrence the prospect of 
military operations on a large scale, which must 
inevitably lead to closer and more involved relations 
with the tribes of the Afghan border. He belonged 
to that party in the State which has clung pas- 
sionately, vairJy, and often unwisely to a policy 
of peace and retrenchment. He was supported in 
his reluctance to embark on warhke enterprises by 
the whole force of the economic situation. No 
moment could have been less fitting : no man more 


disinclined. That Lord Elgin's Viceroy alty and the 
Famine year should have been marked by the 
greatest Frontier War in the history of the British 
Empire in India, vividly displays how little an 
individual, however earnest his motives, however 
great his authority, can really control the course of 
pubHc affairs. 

The Council were called upon to decide on matters, 
which at once raised the widest and most intricate 
questions of frontier policy ; which might involve 
great expense ; which might well influence the 
development and prepress of the great populations 
committed to their charge. It would be desirable 
to consider such matters from the most lofty and 
commanding standpoints ; to reduce detail to its 
iust proportions ; to examine the past, and to peer 
into the future. And yet, those who sought to look 
thus on the whole situation, were immediately con- 
fronted with the picture of the rock of Chakdara, 
fringed and dotted with the white smoke of musketry, 
encircled by thousands of fierce assailants, its garri- 
son fighting for their lives, but conftdent they would 
not be deserted. It was impossible to see further 
than this. All Governments, all Rulers, meet the 
same difficulties. Wide considerations of principle, 
of policy, of consequences or of economics are 
brushed aside by an impetuous emergency. They 
have to decide off-hand. The statesman has to 
deal with events. The historian, who has merely 
to record them, may amuse his leisure by con- 
structing policies, to explain instances of successful 


On the 30th of July the following order was 
officially published : " The Governor-General in 
Council sanctions the despatch of a force, to be 
styled the Malakand Field Force, for the purpose 
of holding the Malakand, and the adjacent posts, 
and of operating against the neighbouring tribes 
as may be required." 

The force was composed as follows : — 

1st Brigade. 
Commanding — Colonel W. H. Meildejohn, C.B., C.M.G., with 
the local rank of Brigadier-General. 

ist Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment. 

24th Piinjaub Infantry. 

31st Punjaub Infantry. 

45th (Rattray's) Sikhs. 

Sections A and B of Xo. i British Field Hospital. 

No. 38 Native Field Hospital. 

Sections A and B of No. 50 Native Field Hospital. 

2nd Brigade. 
Commanding — Brigadier-General P. D. Jeffreys, C.B. 
ist Battalion East Kent Regiment (the Bufis). 
35th Sikhs. 
38th Dogras. 
Guides Infantry. 

Sections C and D of No. i British Field Hospital. 
No. 37 Native Field Hospital. 
Sections C and D of No. 50 Native Field Hospital. 

Divisional Troops. 
4 Squadrons nth Bengal Lancers. 

1 ,, loth „ „ 

2 .. Guides Cavalry. 
22nd Pimjaub Infantry-. 

2 Companies 21st Punjaub Infantry. 

loth Field Battery. 

6 Guns No. i British Mountain Batterv. 

6 „ No. 7 

6 „ No. S Bengal „ „ 


No. 5 Company Madras Sappers and Miners. 
No. 3 „ Bombay „ „ „ 

Section B of No. 13 British Field Hospital. 
Sections A and B of No. 35 Native Field Hospital 

Line of Communications. 
No. 34 Native Field Hospital. 
Section B of No. i Native Field Hospital. 

This complete division amounted to a total available field 
strength of 6800 bayonets, 700 lances or sabres, with 24 gims. 

The command of this powerful force was entrusted 
to Brigadier-General Sir Bindcn Blood, K.C.B., 
who was granted the local rank of J\Iajor-General. 

As this officer is the principal character in the 
tale I have to tell, a digression is necessary to 
introduce him to the reader. Bom of an old Irish 
family, a clan that has been settled in the west of 
Ireland for 300 years, and of which he is now the 
head, Sir Bindon Blood was educated privately, and 
at the Indian Military College at Addiscombe, and 
obtained a commission in the Royal Engineers in 
December, i860. For the first eleven years he was 
stationed in England, and it was not until 1871 
that he proceeded to India, where he first saw 
active service in the Jawaki Afridi Expedition 
(medal with clasp). In 1878 he returned home, 
but the next year was ordered to the Zulu War. 
On the conclusion of hostilities, for which he re- 
ceived a second medal and clasp, he again sailed 
for India and served throughout the Afghan war of 
1880, being for some time with the troops at Cabul. 
In 1882 he accompanied the Army to Egypt, and 
was with the Highland Brigade, which was the most 


severely engaged at Tel-el-Kebir. He received the 
medal and clasp, Khedive's star and the 3rd class 
of the Medjidie. After the campaign he went home 
for two years, and in 1885 made another voyage to 
the East, over which the Russian war-cloud was 
then hanging. Since then the general has served 
in India, at first with the Sappers and Miners, with 
whose reorganisation he was closely associated, 
and latterly in command of the Agra District. In 
1895 he was appointed Chief of the Staff to Sir 
Robert Low in the Chitral Expedition, and was 
present at all the actions, including the storming 
of the Malakand Pass. For his services he received 
a degree of knighthood of the Military Order of the 
Bath and the Chitral medal and clasp. He was 
now marked as a man for high command on the 
frontier at the first opportunity That opportunity 
the great rising of 1897 has presented. 

Thirty-seven years of soldiering, of war in many 
lands, of sport of every kind, have steeled aUke 
muscle and nerve. Sir Bindon Blood, himself, till 
warned by the march of time, a keen polo player, 
is one of those few officers of high rank in the army, 
who recogmse the advantages to soldiers of that 
splendid game. He has pursued all kinds of wild 
animals in varied jungles, has killed many pig with 
the spear and shot every species of Indian game, 
including thirty tigers to his own rifle. 

It would not be fitting for me, a subaltern of 
horse, to offer any criticism, though eulogistic, on 
the commander under whom I have had the honour 
to serve in the field. I shall content myself with 


saying, that the general is one of that type of soldiers 
and administrators, which the responsibilities and 
dangers of an Empire produce, a type, which has 
not been, perhaps, possessed by any nation except 
the British, since the days when the Senate and the 
Roman people sent their proconsuls to all parts of 
the world. 

Sir Bindon Blood was at Agra, when, on the even- 
ing of the 28th of July, he received the telegram 
from the Adjutant-General in India, appointing him 
to the command of the Malakand Field Force, and 
instructing him to proceed at once to assume it. 
He started immediately, and on the 31st formally 
took command at Nowshera. At Mardan he halted 
to make arrangements for the onward march of the 
troops. Here, at 3 a.m. on the ist of August, he re- 
ceived a telegram from Army Headquarters inform- 
ing him, that Chakdara Fort was hard pressed, and 
directing him to hurry on to Malakand, and attempt 
its relief at all costs. The great numbers of the 
enemy, and the shortness of ammunition and supplies 
from which the garrison were suffering, made the 
task difficult and the urgency great. Indeed I have 
been told, that at Simla on the ist of August it was 
feared, that Chakdara was doomed, and that suffi- 
cient troops to fight their way to its relief could not 
be concentrated in time. The greatest anxiety pre- 
vailed. Sir Bindon Blood replied telegraphically 
that " knowing the ground " as he did, he " felt 
serenely confident." He hurried on at once, and, 
in spite of the disturbed state of the country, reached 
the Malakand about noon on the ist of August. 


The desperate position of the garrison of Chak- 
dara was fully appreciated by their comrades at the 
Malakand. As the night of the 31st had been 
comparatively quiet, Brigadier-General Meiklejohn 
detennined to attempt to force his way to their 
reUef the next day. He accordingly formed a 
column as follows : — 

45th Sikhs. 

24th Punjaub Infantry. 

No. 5 Company Sappers and Miners. 

4 Guns of No. 8 Moiintain Battery. 

At II A.M. he sent the cavalry, under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Adams of the Guides, to make a dash for 
the Amandara Pass, and if it were unoccupied to 
seize it. The three squadrons started by the short 
road to the north camp. As soon as the enemy 
saw what was going on, they assembled in great num- 
bers to oppose the advance. The ground was most 
unsuitable for cavalr}^ Great boulders strewed 
the surface. Frequent nullahs intersected the plain, 
and cramped the action of the horsemen. The 
squadrons soon became hotly engaged. The Guides 
made several charges. The broken nature of the 
ground favoured the enemy. Many of them were, 
however, speared or cut down. In one of these 
charges Lieutenant Keyes was wounded. WTiile 
he was attacking one tribesman, another came up 
from behind, and struck him a heavy blow on the 
shoulder with a sword. Though these Swatis keep 
their sw^ords at razor edge, and though the blow 
was sufficiently severe to render the officer's arm 


useless for some days, it raised only a thin weal, 
as if from a cut of a whip. It was a strange and 
almost an inexplicable escape. 

The enemy in increasing numbers pressed upon 
the cavalry, who began to get seriously involved. 
The tribesmen displayed the greatest boldness and 
determination. At length Lieut. -Colonel Adams 
had to order a retirement. It was none too soon. 
The tribesmen were already working round the left 
flank and thus threatening the only line of retreat. 
The squadrons fell back, covering each other by 
dismounted fire. The 24th Punjaub Infantry pro- 
tected their flank as they reached the camp. The 
cavalry losses were as follows : — 

British Officers. 

Wounded severely — Captain G. M. Baldwin, the Guides. 
„ slightly — Lieutenant C. V, Keyes, the Guides. 

Native Ranks. 

Killed. Wounded. 

nth Bengal Lancers 3 

Horses i 4 

Guides Cavalry i 10 

Horses 3 18 

Total casualties — 16 men and 26 horses. 

The vigorous resistance which the cavalry had 
encountered, and the great numbers and confidence 
that the enemy had displayed, effectually put an 
end to any idea of reUeving Chakdara that day. 
The tribesmen were much elated by their tempo- 
rary success, and the garrison, worn and wearied by 
the incessant strain, both mental and physical, were 
proportionately cast down. Every one anticipated 


tremendous fighting on the next day. Make the 
attempt, they must at all hazards. But there were 
not wanting those who spoke of " forlorn hopes '* 
and " last chances." Want of sleep and rest had 
told on all ranks. For a week they had grappled 
with a savage foe. They were the \ictors, but they 
were out of breath. 

It was at this moment, that Sir Bindon Blood 
arrived and assumed the command. He found 
General Meiklejohn busily engaged in organising 
a force of all arms, which was to move to the relief 
of Chakdara on the follo^\ing day. As it was dan- 
gerous to denude the Malakand position of troops, 
this force could not exceed 1000 rifles, the available 
cavalry and four guns. Of these arrangements Sir 
Bindon Blood approved. He reheved Brigadier- 
General Meiklejohn of the charge of the Malakand 
position, and gave him the command of the reliev- 
ing column. Colonel Reid was then placed in com- 
mand of Malakand, and instructed to strengthen the 
pickets at Castle Rock, as far as possible, and to be 
ready with a force taken from them, to clear the 
high ground on the right of the Graded road. The 
relieving column was composed as follows : — 

400 Rifles 24th Pvmjaub Infantry. 

400 ,, 45th Sikhs. 

200 ,, Guides Infantry. 

2 Squadrons nth Bengal Lancers ~| under Lieutenant- 

2 „ Guides Cavalry j Col. R. B. Adams. 

4 Gvms No. 8 Mountain Battery. 

50 Sappers of No. 5 Company. 

Hospital details. 

Sir Bindon Blood ordered General Meiklejohn to 


assemble this force before dark near the centre of 
the camp at a grove of trees called " Gretna Green," 
to bivouac there for the night, and to be ready to 
start with the first light of morning. During the 
afternoon the enemy, encouraged by their success 
with the cavalry in the morning, advanced boldly 
to the pickets and the firing was continuous. So 
heavy indeed did it become between eleven and 
twelve o'clock at night, that the force at " Gretna 
Green " got under arms. But towards morning the 
tribesmen retired. 

The reader may, perhaps, have in his mind the 
description of the Malakand as a great cup with 
jagged clefts in the rim. Much of this rim was still 
held by the enemy. It was necessary for any force 
trying to get out of the cup, to fight their way along 
the narrow roads through the clefts, which were 
commanded by the heights on either side. Foi a 
considerable distance it was impossible to deploy. 
Therein lay the difficulty of the operation, which 
the General had now to perform. The relieving 
column was exposed to the danger of being stopped, 
just as Colonel McRae had stopped the first attack 
of the tribesmen along the Buddhist road. On the 
ist of August the cavalry had avoided these diffi- 
culties by going down the road to the North camp, 
and making a considerable detour. But they thus 
became involved in bad ground and had to retire. 
The " Graded " road, if any, was the road by which 
Chakdara was to be relieved. Looking at the 
tangled, rugged nature of the country, it seems 
extraordinary to an untrained eye, that among so 


many peaks and points, one should be of more im- 
portance than another. Yet it is so. On the high 
ground, in front of the position that Colonel ]McRae 
and the 45th Sikhs had held so well, was a prominent 
spur. This was the key which would unlock the 
gate and set free the troops, who were cramped up 
\\dthin. Every one realised afterwards how obvious 
this was and wondered they had not thought of it 
before. Sir Bindon Blood selected the point as the 
object of his first attack, and it was against this that 
he directed Colonel Goldney with a force of about 
300 men to move, as soon as he should give the 
signal to advance. 

At half-past four in the morning of the 2nd of 
August he proceeded to " Gretna Green " and 
found the relieving column fallen in, and ready to 
march at daj^break. All expected a severe action. 
Oppressed with fatigue and sleeplessness, there were 
many who doubted that it would be successful. But 
though tired, they were determined, and braced 
themselves for a desperate struggle. The General- 
in-Chief was, as he had said, confident and serene. 
He summoned the different commanding officers, 
explained his plans, and shook hands all round. It 
was a moment of stem and high resolve. Slowly 
the first faint light of da\vn grew in the eastern sky. 
The brightness of the stars began to pale. Behind 
the mountains was the promise of the sun. Then 
the word was given to advance. Immediately the 
relieving column set off, fours deep, down the 
" Graded " road. Colonel Goldney simultaneously 
advanced to the attack of the spur, which now bears 


his name, with 250 men of the 35th Sikhs and 50 
of the 38th DogrcLS. He moved silently towards 
the stone shelters, that the tribesmen had erected 
on the crest. He got to \vithin a hundred yards 
unperceived. The enemy, surprised, opened an 
irregular and ineffective fire. The Sikhs shouted 
and dashed forward. The ridge was captured 
without loss of any kind. The enemy fled in dis- 
order, leaving seven dead and one prisoner on the 

Then the full significance of the movement was 
apparent alike to friend and foe. The point now 
gained, commanded the whole of the " Graded " 
road, right down to its junction with the road to the 
North camp. The relieving column, moving down 
the road, were enabled to deploy without loss or 
delay. The door was open. The enemy, utterly 
surprised and dumfoundered by this manoeu^/re, 
were seen running to and fro in the greatest con- 
fusion : in the graphic words of Sir Bindon Blood's 
despatch, " hke ants in a disturbed ant-hill." At 
length they seemed to realise the situation, and, 
descending from the high ground, took up a position 
near Bedford Hill in General Meiklejohn's front, and 
opened a heavy fire at close range. But the troops 
were now deployed and able to bring their numbers 
to bear. Without wasting time in firing, they ad- 
vanced with the bayonet. The leading company 
of the Guides stormed the hill in their front with 
a loss of two killed and six wounded. The rest of 
the troops charged with even less loss. The enemy, 
thoroughly panic-stricken, began to fly, Uterally by 


thousands, along the heights to the right. They left 
seventy dead behind them. The troops, maddened 
by the remembrance of their fatigues and sufferings, 
and inspired by the im_pulse of victory, pursued 
them with a merciless vigour. 

Sir Bindon Blood had with his staff ascended the 
Castle Rock, to superintend the operations generally. 
From this position the whole field was visible. On 
every side, and from every rock, the white figures 
of the enemy could be seen in full flight. The way 
was open. The passage was forced. Chakdara was 
saved. A great and brilliant success had been 
obtained. A thrill of exultation convulsed every 
one. In that moment the general, who watched 
the triumphant issue of his plans, must have experi- 
enced as fine an emotion as is given to man on earth. 
In that moment, we may imagine that the weary 
years of routine, the long ascent of the lower grades 
of the service, the frequent subordination to in- 
competence, the fatigues and dangers of five cam- 
paigns, received their compensation. Perhaps, 
such is the contrariness of circumstances, there 
was no time for the enjoyment of these reflections. 
The victory had been gained. It remained to profit 
by it. The enemy would be compelled to retire 
across the plain. There at last was the chance of 
the cavalry. The four squadrons were hurried to 
the scene. 

The nth Bengal Lancers, forming line across the 
plain, began a merciless pursuit up the valley. The 
Guides pushed on to seize the Amandara Pass and 
relieve Chakdara. All among the rice fields and the 


rocks, the strong horsemen hunted the flying enemy. 
No quarter was asked or given, and every tribesman 
caught, was speared or cut down at once. Their 
bodies lay thickly strewn about the fielas, spotting 
with black and green patches, the bright green of 
the rice crop. It was a terrible lesson, and one 
which the inhabitants of Swat and Bajaur will never 
forget. Since then their terror of Lancers has been 
extraordinary. A few sowars have frequently been 
sufficient to drive a hundred of these vaUant savages 
in disorder to the hills, or prevent them descending 
into the plain for hours. 

Meanwhile the infantry had been advancing 
swiftly. The 45th Sikhs stormed the fortified 
village of Batkhela near the Amandara Pass, which 
the enemy held desperately. Lieut. -Colonel McRae, 
who had been reheved from the comm.and of the 
regiment b}/ the arrival of Colonel Sawyer, was the 
first man to enter the village. Eighty of the enemy 
were bayoneted in Batkhela alone. It was a terrible 

I am anxious to finish with this scene of carnage. 
The spectator, who may gaze unmoved on the 
bloodshed of the battle, must avert his eyes from 
the horrors of the pursuit, unless, indeed, joining in 
it himself, he flings all scruples to the winds, and, 
carried away by the impetus of the moment, indulges 
to the fuU those deep-seated instincts of savagery, 
over which civilisation has but cast a veil of doubt- 
ful thickness. 

The casualties in the relief of Chakdara were as 
follows : — 


nth Bengal Lancers — lolled and died from woimds, 3; wounded, 3. 

Killed. Wounded. 

Guides Infantry 2 7 

35th Sikhs 2 3 

45th Sikhs . . 7 

24th Punjaub Infantr\- .... . . 5 

No. 8 Bengal Mountain Battery . . . . i 

Total Casualties — 33. 

The news of the rehef of Chakdara was received 
with feehngs of profound thankfulness throughout 
India. And in England, in the House of Commons, 
when the Secretary of State read out the telegram, 
there were few among the members who did not 
join in the cheers. Nor need we pay much attention 
to those few. 



, . . That tower of strength 

Which stood four-square to all the 't^dnds that blew. 


The Fort — The Warning — A Gallop Home — The First 
Attack — The Cavalry Dash — Continued Assaults 
— The Signal Tower — Exhaustion of the Defenders 
— Sepoy Prem Singh — Critical Situation — The 
Urgent Appeal — The Final Attack — The Cavalry 
to the Rescue — A Finish in Style — The Casualties. 

THE episode with which this chapter is concerned 
is one that has often occurred on the out -post line 
of civilisation, and which is peculiarly frequent in 
the history of a people whose widespread Empire 
is fringed with savage tribes. A small band of 
soldiers or settlers, armed with the resources of 
science, and strengthened by the cohesion of mutual 
trust, are assailed in some isolated post, by thou- 
sands of warlike and merciless enemies. Usually the 
courage and equipment of the garrison enable them 
to hold out until a relieving force arrives, as at 
Rorke's Drift, Fort Chitral, Chakdara or Gulistan. 
But sometimes the defenders are overwhelmed, 
and, as at Saraghari or Khartoum, none are left to 


tell the tale. There is something strangely terrible 
in the spectacle of men, who fight — not for political 
or patriotic reasons, not for the sake of duty or glory 
— but for dear life itself ; not because they want to, 
but because they have to. They hold the dykes of 
social progress against a rising deluge of barbarism, 
which threatens every moment to overflow the 
banks and drown them all. The situation is one 
which will make a coward valorous, and affords to 
brave men opportunities for the most subhme 
forms of heroism and devotion. 

Chakdara holds the passage of the Swat Ri\'er — 
a rapid, broad, and at most seasons of the year an 
unfordable torrent. It is built on a rocky knoll 
that rises abruptly from the plain about a hundred 
yards from the mountains. Sketches and photo- 
graphs usually show only the knoll and buildings 
on it, and any one looking at them will be struck 
by the picturesque and impregnable aspect of the 
little fort, without observing that its proportions 
are dwarfed, and its defences commanded, by the 
fro\^Tiing cliffs, under which it stands. In its con- 
struction the principles of defilade have been com- 
pletely ignored. Standing on the mountain ridge, 
occupied by the signal tower, it is possible to look or 
fire right into the fort. Every open space is com- 
manded. Every parapet is exposed. Against an 
enemy unprovided with artiller^^ however, it could 
be held indefinitely ; but the fact that all interior 
communications are open to fire, makes its defence 
painful to the garrison, and might, by gradually 
weakening their nimibers, lead to its capture. 


The narrow, swinging, wire bridge across the 
Swat is nearly 500 yards long. At the southern 
end it is closed by a massive iron door, loopholed 
for musketry, and flanked by two stone towers, in 
one of which a Maxim gun is mounted. On the 
further side is the fort itself, which consists of the 
fortified knoll, a strong stone horn-v/ork, an en- 
closure for horses, protected by a loopholed wall 
and much tangled barbed wire, and the signal tower, 
a detached post 200 yards up the cliff. 

The garrison of this place consisted at the time 
of the outbreak of twenty sowars of the nth Bengal 
Lancers and two strong companies of the 45th Sikhs, 
in all about 200 men, under the command of Lieu- 
tenant H. B. Rattray.* As the rumours of an 
impending rising grew stronger and stronger, and the 
end of July approached, this officer practised his 
men in taking stations in the event of an alarm, and 
made such preparations as he thought necessary 
for eventualities. On the 23rd he received an official 
warning from the D.A.A.G.,! Major Herbert, that a 
tribal rising was " possible but not probable." 
Every precaution was henceforth taken in the fort. 
On the 26th, a Sepoy, who was out sketching, hurried 

* The actual strength was as follows : nth Bengal Lancers, 
20 sabres ; 45th Sikhs, 180 rifles ; 2 British telegraphists ; i Hos- 
pital Havildar ; i Provost Naick (24th Punjaub Infantry) ; 
I Jemadar (Dir Levies). British Officers — 45th Sikhs, Lieutenants 
Rattray and Wheatley ; Surgeon-Captain V. Hugo ; Political 
Agent, Lieutenant Minchin. 

t Deputy-Assistant-Adjutant-General. Surely this astounding 
title, with that of the Deputy-As^^istant-Quarter-Master-General, 
miffht be replaced with advantage by the more sensible and appro- 
priate terms " Brigade Adjutant " and ** Brigade Quartermaster " I 


in with the news that a large bod^^ of tribesmen were 
advancing down the valley, and that he himself 
had been robbed of his compass, his field-glasses 
and some money. 

But, in spite of the disturbed and threatening 
situation, the British officers of the Malakand gar- 
rison, though they took all military precautions 
for the defence of their posts, did not abandon their 
practice of riding freely about the valle}', armed 
only wdth revolvers. Nor did they cease from their 
amusements. On the evening of the 26th, Lieu- 
tenant Rattray went over to Khar as usual to play 
polo. Just as the game was ended, he received a 
letter, brought in haste by two sowars, from Lieu- 
tenant Wheatley, the other subaltern at Chakdara, 
warning him that a great number of Pathans \^dth 
flags were advancing on the fort. He at once gal- 
loped back at full speed, passing close to one large 
gathering of tribesmen, who for some reason of their 
own took no notice of him, and so reached the fort 
in safety, and just in time. Formidable masses of 
men were then closing in on it. He telegraphed to 
the staif officer at the Malakand reporting the im- 
pending attack. Immediately aftersvards the wire 
was cut by the enemy and the Httle garrison got 
under arms. 

A havildar of the Khan of Dir's Le\des had pro- 
mised the political agent to give warning of any 
actual assault, by lighting a fire on the opposite hills. 
At 10.15 a solitary flame shot up. It was the signal. 
The alarm was sounded. The garrison went to 
their f)osts. For a space there was silence, and then 


out of the darkness began a fusillade, which did not 
stop until the 2nd of August. Immediately the 
figures of the tribesmen, as they advanced to the 
attack on the western face of the fort, became visible. 
The defenders opened fire with effect. The enemy 
pressed on vigorously. Their losses were severe. 
At length they retreated repulsed. 

A second attack was immediately delivered against 
the north-east corner and again beaten off by the 
garrison. At 4 a.m. a third assault was made upon 
the cavalry enclosure. The tribesmen, carrying 
scaling ladders, advanced with great determination. 
They were received with a deadly fire. They then 
drew off, and the first night of the siege was termi- 
nated by desultory firing. The garrison remained 
at their posts all night, and when it became day the 
enemy were seen to have retired, to the hills to the 
north-west, whence they maintained a ceaseless fire. 
Although the defenders were protected by their 
stone walls, many had strange escapes from the 
bullets, which fell incessantly into the interior. 

Meanwhile, in spite of the vigorous attack that 
was being made on the Malakand, it had been de- 
cided to send some assistance to the little band at 
Chakdara. Captain Wright and forty sowars of 
the nth Bengal Lancers with Captain Baker of the 
2nd Bombay Grenadiers and transport officer at 
the Malakand, started at dawn on the 27th, by the 
road from the north camp. Before they had gone 
very far they came under the fire of the enemy on 
the hills. These did not dare to venture into the 
plain, but availed themselves of the broken nature 


of the country. As the squadron reached the road 
leading to the polo ground, Captain Wnght received 
information that the enemy were collected on the 
plain and immediately the pace was quickened in 
the hopes of a charge being possible. But the 
tribesmen ran to the hills at the sight of the Lancers, 
and maintained a constant, though luckily, an ill- 
aimed fire. At length the village of Batkhela was 
reached, and beyond it the Amandara Pass came 
in sight. This is a gap in a long spur, which runs 
from the southern side of the valley to the rapid 
river in the middle. As the river was then in full 
flood and unfordable, the onl}^ road to Chakdara lay 
over or through the spur. But the pass was held 
by the enemy. 

Captain Wright had by this time realised, what 
probably no one at the Malakand then knew, that 
the enemy's numbers were enormous. The whole 
way from Malakand to Amandara — every ridge 
and hill was cro\^Tied with their banners. WTierever 
the ground protected them from the horsemen they 
gathered thickly. Cemeteries,* nullahs and villages 
swarmed wdth men. Their figures could be seen in 
all directions. Far beyond the Amandara Pass 
bands of tribesmen, of varying strengths, could be 
observed hurr^dng wdth their standards to the 
attack. But these formidable signs, far from de- 
terring the cavalry soldier, only added, by dis- 
playing how great was the need of Chakdara, to his 

* Cemeteries are frequent and prominent features of Frontier 
landscapes. Some of them are of great extent : all of remarkable 


determination to force his way through at all 

Under a dropping fire from the cemetery on the 
right of the road, a brief consultation was held. 
The Amandara defile was occupied on both sides 
by the enemy. With the loss of perhaps a dozen 
men the squadron might gallop through. But this 
meant leaving all who fell, to perish miserably, by 
torture and mutilation. To attempt to pick up the 
wounded, would lead to the annihilation of the 
squadron. Any alternative was preferable, though 
if there were no other way, the dash would have to 
be made, and the wounded left. A sowar now said 
there was a path round the rock by the bank of the 
river. Captain Wright determined to take it. 

The path was bad. After about half the spur 
had been passed, it ended abruptly in a steep white 
rock. It was, in fact, a path leading to a point 
where the natives were in the habit of floating across 
the river upon " mussucks " (inflated skins). To go 
back now was to fail. Without hesitation, the 
horsemen turned to the right up the hill and among 
the rocks, trusting to get through somehow. After 
passing over ground which would be difficult to 
move across on foot, they saw a gorge to their left 
which appeared as if it would lead to the open plain, 
on the other side of the ridge. Down this gorge 
forty horses huddled together, with no room to pick 
their way, were scrambling and jumping from rock 
to rock, apparently as conscious as their riders that 
their lives depended on their cleverness — when, 
suddenly, the enemy appeared. 


As soon as the tribesmen, who were holding the 
pass, saw the squadron trot off to their right towards 
the river, they reaUsed that they intended to make 
a desperate effort to get through to Chakdara. 
They knew what the ground was hke, and confident 
they would kill them all, if they could get there soon 
enough, ran swiftl}^ along the spur. It was a race. 
The leading tribesmen arrived in time to fire on 
the cavalry, v/hile they were in the gorge. So close 
were they, that the officers used their revolvers. 
But the Pathans were out of breath and shot badly. 
Several horses were hit, including Captain Wright's, 
but though the large thigh bone was penetrated, 
the gallant beast held on, and carried his rider to 
Chakdara safely. 

By the extraordinary activity of the horses the 
rocks were cleared before the enemy could collect 
in any strength. But, to the dismay of all, the 
gorge was foimd to lead, not to the plain, but to a 
branch of the river. A broad, swift channel of 
water of unknowTi depth confronted the cavalry. 
To go back was now, however, out of the question. 
They plunged in. The nth Bengal Lancers are 
perhaps better mounted than any native cavalry 
regiment in India. Their strong horses just held 
their own against the current. Several were 
nearly swept away. Captain Wright was the last 
to cross. All this time the enemy were firing and 
approaching. At length the passage was made and 
the squadron collected on an island of flooded rice 
fields, in which the horses sank up to their hocks. 
Beyond this ran another arm of the river about 


fifty yards wide, and apparently almost as deep as 
the first. The bullets of the enemy made "watery 
flashes " on all sides. After passing this second 
torrent the squadron found themselves again on 
the same bank of the river as the enemy. They 
were in swampy ground. Captain Wright dis- 
mounted his men and returned the fire. Then he 
turned back himself, and riding into the stream 
again, rescued the hospital assistant, w^hose pony, 
smaller than the other horses, was being carried off 
its legs by the force of the water. After this the 
march was resumed. The squadron kept in the 
heavy ground, strugghng along painfully. The 
enemy, running along the edge of the rice fields, 
maintained a continual fire, kneeling down to take 
good aim. A sowar threw up his hands and fell, 
shot through the back. Several more horses were 
hit. Then another man reeled in his saddle and 
collapsed on the ground. A halt was made. Dis- 
mounted fire was opened upon the enemy. The 
wounded were picked up, and by slow degrees 
Chakdara was approached, when the Bridgehead 
Maxim gun compelled the tribesmen to draw off.* 

Thus the garrison of the fort received a needed 
reinforcement. I have given a somewhat long 
description of this gallant ride, because it shows 
that there are few obstacles that can stop brave 
men and good horses. Captain Wright now as- 
sumed command of Chakdara, but the direction of 
the defence he still confided to Lieutenant Rattray, 

♦ For the particulars of this affair I am indebted to Captain 
Baker, 2nd Bombay Grenadiers, who shared its perils. 


as fighting behind walls is a phase of warfare with 
which the cavalry soldier is little acquainted. 

At 11.30, in the heat of the day the tribesmen 
attacked again. They surrounded the north and 
east sides of the fort, and made strenuous efforts 
to get in. They suffered heavy losses from the 
musketry of the defence, and their dead lay scat- 
tered thickly on the approaches. Nor were they 
removed till nightfall. Many Ghazis, mad with fana- 
ticism, pressed on carrying standards, heedless of 
the fire, until they fell riddled with bullets under 
the very walls. 

To communicate with the Malakand was now 
almost impossible. To heliograph, it was neces- 
sary that the operator should be exposed to a 
terrible fire. In the evening the signal tower was 
surrounded by men in stone sungars, who kept up 
an incessant fusillade, and made all exposure, even 
for an instant, perilous. 

At midday, after the repulse of the main attack, 
the guard of the signal tower was reinforced by six 
men, and food and water were also sent up. This 
difficult operation was protected by the fire of both 
the Maxims, and of all the garrison who could be 
spared from other points. Until the ist of August, 
water was sent up daily to the signal tower in this 
way. The distance was long and the road steep. 
The enemy's fire was persistent. Looking at the 
ground it seems wonderful that supplies could have 
been got through at all. 

As night approached, the defenders prepared to 
meet a fresh attack. Lieutenant Wheatley, observ- 


ing the points behind which the enemy usually 
assembled, trained the fort Maxim and the 9- 
pounder gun on them, while daylight lasted. At 
II P.M. the tribesmen advanced with shouts, yells 
and the beating of drums. The gun and the 
Maxims were fired, and it is said that no fewer than 
seventy men perished by the single discharge. At 
any rate the assault WcLS delayed for an hour and a 
half. All day long the garrison had remained at 
their posts. It was hoped they would now get a 
little rest. But at i o'clock the attack was renewed 
on the north-east corner. Again the enemy brought 
up scaHng ladders and charged with desperate 
ferocity. They were shot down. 

Meanwhile every spare moment was devoted to 
improving the cover of the garrison. Captain 
Baker applied himself to this task, and used every 
expedient. Logs, sand bags, stones, boxes filled 
with earth were piled upon the walls. It is due to 
these precautions that the loss of life was no larger. 

Continuous firing occupied the 28th, and at 5.30 
P.M. the enem.y again assaulted. As in previous 
attacks, the}^ at first advanced by twos and threes, 
making little dashes over the open ground, for bits 
of natural cover, and for the stone sungars they had 
built all round the fort under cover of darkness. 
Some of these were within 200 yards of the waU. 
As they advanced the fire became intense. Then 
the main rush was delivered. In a great semi- 
circle round the face of the fort held by the cavalry, 
and displaying nearly 200 standards whose gay 
colours were representative of every tribe on the 


border, they charged right up to the walls. Some 
of them actually got across the tangled barbed wire 
and were destroyed in the enclosure. But all 
efforts were defeated by the garrison, and towards 
morning the attack melted away, and only the 
usual sharpshooters remained. Some of these dis- 
played a singular recklessness. One man climbed 
up into the barbed wire and fired three shots at the 
defenders at close quarters before he was killed. 

Thursday morning dawned on similar scenes. 
The garrison employed such intervals as occurred 
in strengthening their defences and improving their 
cover, particularly in the approaches to the Maxim 
and field gun platforms. At 3 p.m. the enemy 
came out of Chakdara village, and, carrying ladders 
to scale the walls, and bundles of grass to throw on 
the barbed wire, made a formidable effort. They 
directed the attack mainly against the signal 
station. This building is a strong, square, stone 
tower. Its entrance is above six feet from the 
ground. All around the top runs a machiconlis 
gallery, a kind of narrow balcony, with holes in the 
floor to fire through. It is well provided with 
loopholes. At 4 o'clock it was closely ' assailed. 
The garrison of the fort aided the tower guard by 
their fire. So bold were the enemy in their efforts, 
that they rushed in under the musketry of the de- 
fence, and lighted a great heap of grass about three 
yards from the doorway. The flames sprang up. 
A howl of ferocious delight arose. But the tribes- 
men relapsed into silence, when they saw^ that no 
real harm was done. At sunset the fore sight of the 


fort Maxim was shot away, and the defenders were 
temporarily deprived of the service of that powerful 
weapon. They soon managed, however, to rig up 
a makeshift, which answered all practical purposes. 
At 8 P.M. the enemy wearied of the struggle, and 
the firing died away to desultory skirmishing. They 
toiled all night carrying away their dead, but next 
morning over fifty bodies were still lying around the 
signal tower. Their losses had been enormous. 

The morning of the 30th brought no cessation of 
the fighting, but the enemy, disheartened by their 
losses of the previous night, did not attack until 
7 P.M. At that hour they advanced and made a 
fresh effort. They were again repulsed. Perhaps 
the reader is tired of the long recital of the mono- 
tonous succession of assaults and repulses. What 
must the garrison have been by the reaHty ? Until 
this day — when they snatched a few hours' sleep — • 
they had been continually fighting and watching 
for ninety-six hours. Like men in a leaking ship, 
who toil at the pumps ceaselessly and find their 
fatigues increasing and the ship sinking hour by 
hour, they cast anxious, weary eyes in the direction 
whence help might be expected. But none came. 
And there are worse deaths than by drowning. 

Men fell asleep at the loopholes and at the service 
of the field gun. Even during the progress of the 
attacks, insulted nature asserted itself, and the 
soldiers drifted away from the roar of the musketry, 
and the savage figures of the enemj^, to the peaceful 
unconsciousness of utter exhaustion. The oilicers, 
haggard but tireless, aroused them frequently. 


At other times the brave Sepoys would despair. 
The fort was ringed with the enemy. The Mala- 
kand, too, was assailed. Perhaps it was the same 
elsewhere. The whole British Raj seemed passing 
away in a single cataclysm. The officers en- 
couraged them. The Government of the Queen- 
Empress would never desert them. If they could 
hold out, they would be relieved. If not, they 
would be avenged. Trust in the young white 
men who led them, and perhaps some dim half- 
idolatrous faith in a mysterious Sovereign across 
the seas, whose soldiers they were, and who would 
surely protect them, restored their fainting strength. 
The fighting continued. 

During the whole time of the siege the difficulty 
of maintaining signalling communication with the 
Malakand was extreme. But for the heroism of 
the signallers, it would have been insuperable. One 
man in particular. Sepoy Prem Singh, used every 
day at the risk of his life to come out through a 
porthole of the tower, estabUsh his heliograph, and, 
under a terrible fire from short range, flash urgent 
messages to the main force. The extreme danger, 
the delicacy of the operation of obtaining connec- 
tion with a heho, the time consumed, the composure 
required, these things combined to make the action 
as brave as any which these or other pages record.* 

* A proposal has recently been made, to give the Victoria Cross 
to native soldiers who shall deserve it. It would seem that the 
value of such a decoration must be enhanced by making it open 
to all British subjects. The keener the competition, the greater 
the honour of success. In sport, in courage, and in the sight of 
heaven, all men meet on equal terms. 


Early on Saturday morning a supply of water was 
sent to the guard of the signal tower. It was the 
last they got until 4.30 on Monday afternoon. 

When the attack on the fort began, the enemy 
numbeied perhaps 1500 men. Since then they 
had been increasing every day, until on the ist and 
2nd, they are estimated to have been between 
12,000 and 14,000, strong. Matters now began to 
assume a still graver aspect. At 5 o'clock on the 
evening of the 31st a renewed attack was made 
in tremendous force on the east side of the fort. 
But it was beaten back with great loss by the 
Maxims and the field gun. AU night long the 
firing continued, and Sunday morning displayed 
the enemy in far larger numbers than hitherto. 
They now captured the Civil Hospital, a detached 
building, the \/aUs of which they loopholed, and 
from which they m.aintained a galHng fire. They 
also occupied the ridge, leading to the signal tower, 
thus cutting off all communication with its guard. 
No water reached those unfortunate men that day. 
The weather was intensely hot. The fire from the 
ridge made all interior communication difficult and 
dangerous. The enemy appeared armed to a great 
extent with Martini-Henry rifles and Sniders, and 
their musketry was most harassing. The party in 
the tower kept sending by signal pressing requests 
for water, which could not be supplied. The situa- 
tion became critical. I quote the simple words of 
Lieutenant Rattray's official report : — 

" Matters now looked so serious that we decided 
to send an urgent appeal for help, but owing to the 


difficulty and danger of signalling we could not 
send a long message, and made it as short as 
possible, merely sending the two words, * Help us.' " 

Still the garrison displayed a determined aspect, 
and though the tribesmen occupied the ridge, the 
Civil Hospital and an adjoining nullah, none set 
foot within the defences. 

At length the last day of the struggle came. At 
daybreak the enemy in tremendous numbers came 
on to the assault, as if resolute to take the place at 
any cost. They carried scaling ladders and bundles 
of grass. The firing became intense. In spite of 
the cover of the garrison several men were killed 
and wounded by the hail of bullets which was 
directed against the fort, and which splashed and 
scarred the walls in every direction. 

Then suddenly, as matters were approaching a 
crisis, the cavalry of the relieving column appeared 
over the Amandara ridge. The strong horsemen 
mercilessly pursued and cut down all who opposed 
them. When they reached the Bridgehead on the 
side of the river remote from the fort, the enemy 
began to turn and run. The garrison had held 
out stubbornly and desperately throughout the 
siege. Now that relief was at hand. Lieutenant 
Rattray flung open the gate, and followed by half 
a dozen men charged the Civil Hospital. Captain 
Baker and Lieutenant Wheatle}^ followed with a 
few more. The hospital was recaptured. The 
enemy occupying it, some thirty in number, were 
bayoneted. It was a finish in style. Returning, 
the sallying party found the cavalry — the nth 



Bengal Lancers — checked by a sungar full of tribes- 
men. This they charged in flank, kilhng most of 
its occupants, and driving the rest after their com- 
rades in rout and ruin. The last man to leave the 
sungar shot Lieutenant Rattray in the neck, but 
that officer, as distinguished for physical prowess 
as for military conduct, cut him down. This ended 
the fighting. It is not possible to think of a more 
fitting conclusion. 

The casualties in the siege were as follows : — 

Killed. Wounded. 

iith B. L I I 

45th Sikhs 4 10 

Dir Levies i 

Followers i 2 

Total, all ranks — 20. 

This was the loss ; but every man in the fort had 
held death at arm's length, for seven nights, and 
seven days. 

It is a significant fact, that, though the C2ivalry 
horses were exposed to the enemy's fire the whole 
time, hardly any were killed or wounded. The 
tribesmen, feeling sure that the place was theirs, 
and hoping that these fine beasts would fall into 
their hands alive, had abstained from shooting them. 

As far as could be ascertained by careful official 
inquiries the enemy lost over 2000 men in the 
attack upon Chakdara. 

The following statistics as to the expenditure of ammunition 
may be of interest : — 


28th July. Maxim 843 

„ Martini-Henry 7170 



29th July. 

Maxim .... 

. . 667 


Martini-Henry . 

. 4020 

30th July. 

Maxim .... 

. 1200 


Martini-Henry . 

• • 5530 

31st July. 

Maxim .... 

. . 180 


Martini-Henrv . 

. 2700 


This is approximately twenty rounds per man per diem, 
fire control must have been excellent. 




Formation of the 3rd Brigade — The Marks of War — 
Submission of the Lower Swatis — The Special 
Force — The Action of Landakai — The .\rtillery 
Preparation — The Flank Attack — Capture of the 
Ridge — Pursuit — A Disastrous Incident — A Gal- 
lant Feat of Arms — The Victoria Cross — Knights 
of the Sword and Pen — Buddhist Remains — The 
Light of Other Days — Buner — Return of the 

THE Malakand Pass gives access to the valley of 
the Swat, a long and wide trough running east 
and west, among the mountains. Six miles further 
to the east, at Chakdara, the valley bifurcates. One 
branch runs northward towards Uch, and, turning 
again to the west, ultimately leads to the Panjkora 
River and beyond to the great valley of Nawagai. 
For some distance along this branch lies the road 
to Chitral, and along it the Malakand Field Force 
will presently advance against the Mohmands. 
The other branch prolongs the valley to the east- 
ward. A few miles beyond Chakdara a long spur, 
jutting from the southern mountains, blocks the 
valley. Round its base the river has cut a channel. 


The road passes along a narrow stone causeway 
between the river and the spur. Here is the Lan- 
dakai position, or, as the tribesmen have for centuries 
called it, the " Gate of Swat." Beyond this gate is 
Upper Swat, the ancient, beautiful and mysterious 
" Udyana." This chapter will describe the forcing 
of the gate and the expedition to the head of the 

The severe fighting at the Malakand and Chak- 
dara had shown how formidable was the combina- 
tion, which had been raised against the British 
among the hill tribes. The most distant and 
solitary valleys, the most remote villages, had sent 
their armed men to join in the destruction of the 
infidels. All the Banjaur tribes had been well rep- 
resented in the enemy's ranks. The Bunerwals 
and the Utman Khels had risen to a man. All Swat 
had been involved. Instead of the two or three 
thousand men that had been estimated as the 
extreme number, who would follow the Mad Fakir, 
it was now known that over 12,000 were in arms. 
In consequence of the serious aspect which the 
military and political situation had assumed, it 
was decided to mobilise a 3rd and Reserve Brigade 
composed as follows : — 

2,rd Brigad-c. 

Commanding — Brigadier-General J. H. Wodehouse, C.B., C.M.G. 

2nd Battalion Highland Light Infantry. 

ist „ Gordon Highlanders. 

2ist Punjaub Infantry. 

2nd Battalion ist Gurkhas. 

No. 3 GDmpany Bombay Sappers and Miners. 


No. 14 British Field Hospital. 
„ 45 Native 
„ I Field Medical Depot. 

The fighting of the preceding fortnight had left 
significant and terrible marks on the once smiling 
landscape. The nee crops were trampled down in 
all directions. The ruins of the villages which had 
been burned looked from a distance like blots of 
ink. The fearful losses which the enemy had 
sustained, had made an appreciable diminution, not 
of an army, but of a population. In the attacks 
upon the Malakand position, about 700 tribesmen 
had perished. In the siege of Chakdara, where the 
open ground had afforded opportunity to the modem 
weapons and Maxim guns, over 2000 had been killed 
and wounded. Many others had fallen in the 
relief of Chakdara and in* the cavalry pursuit. For 
days their bodies lay scattered about the country. 
In the standing crops, in the ruins of villages, and 
among the rocks, festering bodies lay in the blazing 
sun, filling the valley with a dreadful smell. To 
devour these great numbers of vultures quickly 
assembled and disputed the abundant prey with 
the odious lizards, which I have mentioned in an 
earlier chapter, and which emerged from holes and 
comers to attack the corpses. Although every 
consideration of decency and health stimulated the 
energy of the victors in interring the bodies of 
their enemies, it was some days before tliis task 
could be accomplished, and even then, in out-of-the- 
way places, there remained a good many that had 
escaped the burying parties. 


Meanwhile the punishment that the tribesmen 
of the Swat Valley had received, and their heavy 
losses, had broken the spirit of many, and several 
deputations came to make their submission. The 
Lower Swatis surrendered unconditionally, and were 
allowed to return to their villages. Of this per- 
mission they at once availed themselves, and their 
figures could be seen moving about their ruined 
homes and endeavouring to repair the damage. 
Others sat by the roadside and watched in sullen 
despair the steady accumulation of troops in their 
valley, which had been the only result of their appeal 
to arms. 

It is no exaggeration to say, that perhaps half 
the tribesmen who attacked the Malakand, had 
thought that the soldiers there, were the only troops 
tiiat the Sirkar * possessed. " Kill these," they had 
said, " and all is done." What did they know of 
the distant regiments which the telegraph wires 
were drawing, from far down in the south of India ? 
Little did they realise they had set the world 
humming ; that military officers were hurr^'ing 
7000 miles by sea and land from England, to the 
camps among the mountains ; that long trains were 
carrying ammunition, material and supplies from 
distant depots to the front ; that astute financiers 
were considering in what degree their action had 
affected the ratio between silver and gold, or that 
sharp pohticians were wondering how the outbreak 
in Swat might be made to influence the impending 
bye-elections. These ignorant tribesmen had no 

* The Goverament. 


conception of the sensitiveness of modern civilisation, 
which thrills and quivers in every part of its vast 
and complex system at the slightest touch. 

They only saw the forts and carnps on the Mala- 
kand Pass and the swinging bridge across the river. 

While the people of Lower Swat, deserted by the 
Mad Mullah, and confronted with the two brigades, 
were completely humbled and subdued, the Upper 
Swatis, encouraged by their priests, and, as they 
believed, safe behind their " gate," assumed a much 
more independent air. They sent to inquire what 
terms the Government would offer, and said they 
would consider the matter. Their contumacious 
attitude, induced the political officers to recommend 
the movement of troops through their country, to 
impress them with the determination and power of 
the Sirkar. 

The expedition into the Upper Swat Valley was 
accordingly sanctioned, and Sir Bindon Blood 
began making the necessary preparations for the 
advance. The prospects of further lighting were 
eagerly welcomed by the troops, and especially by 
those who had arrived too late for the relief of 
Chakdara, and had had thus far, only long and 
dusty marches to perform. There was much specu- 
lation and excitement as to what units would be 
selected, every one asserting that his regiment was 
sure to go ; that it was their turn ; and that if they 
were not taken it would be a great shame. 

Sir Bindon Blood had however already decided. 
He had concentrated a considerable force at Aman- 
dara in view of a possible advance, and as soon as 


the movement was sanctioned organised the column 
as follows : — 

is^ Brigade. 
Commanding — Brigadier-General Meiklejohn. 
Royal West Kent Regiment. 
24th Punjaub Infantry. 
45th Sikhs. 

With the following divisional troops : — 

loth Field Battery. 

No. 7 British ) , . * ■ -r, ** • 
„ 8 Bengal f^°^^^^^^"^"^^- 
„ 5 Company Madras Sappers and Miners. 

2 Squadrons Guides Cavalry. 

4 „ nth Bengal Lancers. 

This force amounted to an available fighting 
strength of 3500 rifles and sabres, with eighteen 
guns. Supphes for twelve days were carried, and 
the troops proceeded on " the 80 lb. scale " of bag- 
gage, which means, that they did not take tents, 
and a few other comforts and conveniences. 

Before the force started, a sad event occurred. 
On the .12th of August, Lieut. -Colonel J. Lamb, 
who had been wounded on the night of the 26th of 
July, died. An early amputation might have saved 
his hfe ; but this was postponed in the expectation 
that the Rontgen Rays would enable the bullet to 
be extracted. The Rays arrived from India after 
some delay. When they reached Malakand, the 
experiment was at once made. It was found, 
however, that the apparatus had been damaged in 
coming up, and no result was obtained. Mean- 
while mortification had set in, and the gallant soldier 
died on the Sunday, from the effects of an ampu- 


tation which he was then too weak to stand. His 
thigh bone had been completely shattered by the 
bullet. He had seen service in Afghanistan and 
the Zhob Valley and had been twice mentioned in 

On the 14th Sir Bindon Blood joined the special 
force, and moved it on the i6th to Thana, a few 
miles further up the valley. At the same time he 
ordered Brigadier-General Wodehouse to detach a 
small column in the direction of the southern passes 
of Buner. The Highland Light Infantry, No. 3 
Company Bombay Sappers and Miners, and one 
squadron of the loth Bengal Lancers accordingly 
marched from Mardan, where the 3rd Brigade then 
was, to Rustum. By this move they threatened the 
Bunerwals and distracted their attention from the 
Upper Swat Valley. Having thus weakened the 
enemy, Sir Bindon Blood proceeded to force the 
" Gate of Swat." 

On the evening of the i6th, a reconnaissance by 
the nth Bengal Lancers, under Major Beatson, 
revealed the fact, that the Landakai position was 
strongly held by the enem}^ Many standards 
were displayed, and on the approach of the cav- 
alry, shots were fired all along the line. The 
squadron retired at once, and reported the state 
of affairs. The general decided to attack at day- 

At 6.30 A.M. on the 17th, the cavalry moved off, 
and soon came in contact with the tribesmen in 
some Buddhist ruins near a village, called Jalala. 
A skirmish ensued. Meanwhile the infantry were 


approaching. The main position of the enemy 
was displayed. All along the crest of the spur of 
Landakai could be seen a fringe of standards, dark 
against the sky. Beneath them the sword blades 
of the tribesmen ghnted in the sunlight. A long 
line of stone simgars cro\Mied the ridge, and behind 
the enemy clustered thickly. It is estimated that 
over 5000 were present. 

It is not difficult to reahse what a strong position 
this was. On the left of the troops was an unford- 
able river. On their right the mountains rose 
steeply. In front was the long ridge held by the 
enemy. The only road up the valley was along the 
causeway, between the ridge and the river. To 
advance further, it was necessary to dislodge the 
enemy from the ridge. Sir Bindon Blood rode for- 
ward, reconnoitred the ground, and made his dis- 

To capture the position by a frontal attack 
would involve heavy loss. The enemy were 
strongly posted, and the troops would be exposed 
to a heavy fire in advancing. On the other hand, 
if the ridge could once be captured, the destruction 
of the tribesmen was assured. Their position 
was good, only as long as they held it. The 
moment of defeat would be the moment of ruin. 
The reason was this. The ground behind the ridge 
was occupied by swampy rice fields, and the enemy 
could only retire ver^^ slowly over it. Their safe 
line of retreat la}^ up the spur, and on to the main 
line of hills. They were thus fonned with their hne 
of retreat in prolongation of their front. This is, of 


course, tacticall^^ one of the worst situations that 
people can get into. 

Sir Bindon Blood, who knew what the ground 
behind the ridge was like, perceived at once how 
matters stood, and made his plans accordingly. He 
determined to strike at the enemy's left, thus not 
only turning their flank, but cutting off their proper 
line of retreat If once his troops held the point, 
where the long ridge ran into the main hills, all the 
tribesmen who had remained on the ridge would 
be caught. He accordingly issued orders as fol- 
lows : — 

The Royal West Kent were to mask the front 
and occupy the attention of the enemy. The rest 
of the infantry, viz., 24th and 31st Punjaub Infantry 
and the 45th Sikhs, were to ascend the hills to the 
right, and deliver a flank attack on the head of the 
ridge. The cavalry were to be held in readiness to 
dash forward along the causeway — to repair which 
a company of sappers was posted — as soon as the 
enemy were driven off the ridge which commanded 
it, and pursue them across the rice fields into the 
open country beyond. The whole of the powerful 
artillery was to come into action at once. 

The troops then advanced. The R93'al West Kent 
Regiment began the fight, by driving some of the 
enemy from the Buddhist ruins on a small spur in 
advance of the main position. The loth Field 
Battery had been left in rear in case the guns might 
stick in the narrow roads near Thana village. It 
had, however, arrived safely, and now trotted up, 
and at 8.50 a.m. opened fire on the enemy's position 


and at a stone fort, which they occupied strongly. 
A few minutes later No. 7 Mountain Battery came 
into action from the spur, which the Royal West 
Kent had taken. A heavy artillery fire thus pre- 
pared the way for the attack. The great shells of 
the Field Artillery astounded the tribesmen, who 
had never before witnessed the explosion of a 
twelve-pound projectile. The two mountain bat- 
teries added to their discomfiture. Many fled 
during the first quarter of an hour of the bombard- 
ment. All the rest took cover on the reverse slope 
and behind their sungars. 

Meanwhile the flank attack was developing. 
General Meiklejohn and his infantry were climbing 
up the steep hillside, and moving steadily towards 
the junction of the ridge with the main hill. At 
length the tribesmen on the spur perceived the 
danger that was threatening them. They felt the 
grip on their line of retreat. They had imagined 
that the white troops would try and force their path 
along the causeway, and had massed considerable 
reserves at the lower end of the ridge. All these 
now realised that they were in great danger of being 
cut off. They were on a peninsula, as it were, 
while the soldiers were securing the isthmus. They 
accordingly began streaming along the ridge to- 
wards the left, at first with an idea of meeting 
the flank attack, but afterwards, as the shell fire 
grew hotter, and the musketry increased, only in 
the hope of retreat. Owing to the great speed with 
which the mountaineers move about the hills, most 
of them were able to escape before the flank attack 


could cut them off. Many, however, were shot 
down as they fled, or were killed by the artillery 
fire. A few brave men charged the 31st Punjaub 
Infantry, but were all destroyed. 

Seeing the enemy in full flight, Sir Bindon Blood 
ordered the Royal West Kent to advance against 
the front of the now almost deserted ridge. The 
British infantry hurrying forward climbed the 
steep hill and captured the stone sungars. From, 
this position they established touch with the flank 
attack, and the whole force pursued the flying 
tribesmen with long-range fire. 

The " Gate of Swat " had been forced. It was 
now possible for troops to advance along the cause- 
way. This had, however, been broken in various 
places by the enemy. The sappers and miners 
hastened forward to repair it. While this was being 
done, the cavalry had to wait in mad impatience, 
knowdng that their chance lay in the plains beyond. 
As soon as the road was sufficiently repaired to 
allow them to pass in single file, they began strug- 
ghng along it, and emerged at the other end of the 
causeway in twos and threes. 

An incident now ensued, which, though it afforded 
an opportunity for a splendid act of courage, yet 
involved an unnecessary/ loss of Hfe, and must be 
called disastrous. As the cavalry got clear of the 
broken ground, the leading horsemen saw the tribes- 
men swiftly nmning towards the hills, about a mile 
distant. Carried away by the excitement of the 
pursuit, and despising the enemy for their slight 
resistance, they dashed impetuously forward in the 


hope of catching them before they could reach the 

Lieutenant-Colonel Adams, on entering the plain, 
saw at once that if he could seize a small clump of 
trees near a cemetery, he would be able to bring 
effective dismounted fire to bear on the retreating 
tribesmen. He therefore collected as many men as 
possible, and with Lieutenant Maclean, and Lord 
Fincastle, the Times correspondent, rode in the 
direction of these points. Meanwhile Captain 
Palmer, who commanded the leading squadron, 
and Lieutenant Greaves of the Lancashire Fusiliers, 
who was acting war correspondent of the Times of 
India, galloped across the rice fields after the 
enemy. The squadron, unable to keep up, 
straggled out in a long string, in the swampy 

At the foot of the hills the ground was firmer, 
and reaching this, the two officers recklessly dashed 
in among the enemj?. It is the spirit that loses the 
Empire many lives, but has gained it many battles. 
But the tribesmen, who had been outmanoeuvred 
rather than outfought, turned savagely on their 
pursuers. The whole scene was witnessed by the 
troops on the ridge. Captain Palmer cut down 
a standard-bearer. Another man attacked liim. 
Raising his arm for a fresh stroke, his wrist was 
smashed by a bullet. Another killed his horse. 
Lieutenant Greaves, shot through the body, fell at 
the same moment to the ground. The enemy closed 
around and began hacking him, as he lay, with their 
swords. Captain Palmer tried to draw his revolver. 


At this moment two scwars got clear of the swampy 
rice fields, and at once galloped, shouting, to the 
rescue, cutting and slashing at the tribesmen. All 
would have been cut to pieces or shot down. The 
liillside was covered with the enemy. The wounded 
officers lay at the foot. They were surrounded. 
Seeing this Lieutenant-Colonel Adams and Lord 
Fincastle, with Lieutenant Maclean and two or 
three sowars, dashed to their assistance. At their 
charge the tribesmen fell back a little way and 
opened a heavy fire. Lord Fincastle 's horse was 
immediately shot and he fell to the ground. Rising, 
he endeavoured to lift the wounded Greaves on to 
Colonel Adams' saddle, but at this instant a second 
bullet struck that unfortunate officer, killing him 
instantly. Colonel Adams was slightly, and Lieu- 
tenant Maclean mortally, wounded while giving 
assistance, and all the horses but two were shct. 
In spite of the terrible fire, the body of Lieu- 
tenant Greaves and the other two wounded officers 
were rescued and carried to the little clump of 

For this gallant feat of arms both the surviving 
officers, Colonel Adams and Lord Fincastle, were 
recommended for, and have since received, the 
Victoria Cross. It was also officially announced, 
that Lieutenant Maclean would have received it, 
had he not been killed. There are many, especially 
on the frontier, where he was known as a fine 
soldier and a good sportsman, who think that the 
accident of death should not have been allowed to 
interfere with the reward of valour. 


The extremes of fortune, which befell Lord 
Fincastle and Lieutenant Greaves, may well claim 
a moment's consideration. Neither officer was 
employed officially with the force. Both had trav^ 
elled up at their own expense, evading and over- 
coming all obstacles in an endeavour to see some- 
thing of war. Knights of the sv/ord and pen, they 
had nothing to offer but their lives, no troops to 
lead, no duties to perform, no watchful command- 
ing officer to report their conduct. They played 
for high stakes, and Fortune, never so capricious 
as on the field of battle, dealt to the one the greatest 
honour that a soldier can hope for, as some think, 
the greatest in the gift of the Crown, and to the 
other Death. 

The flight of the enemy terminated the action of 
Landakai. Thus in a few hours and with hardly 
any loss, the " Gate of Swat," which the tribesmen 
had regarded as impregnable, had been forced. 
One squadron of the Guides cavalry, under Captain 
Brasier Creagh, pursuing the enemy had a successful 
skirmish near the village of Abueh, and returned to 
camp about 6.30 in the evening.* During the fight 
about 1000 tribesmen had threatened the baggage 
column, but these were but poor-spirited fellows, 
for they retired after a short skirmish with two 
squadrons of the nth Bengal Lancers, with a loss 

* This officer was mentioned in despatches for his skill and 
judgment in this affair ; but he is better known on the frontier for 
his brilliant reconnaissance towards Mamani, a month later, in 
which in spite of heavy loss he succeeded in carrying out General 
Hammond's orders and obtained most valuable information. 


of twenty killed and wounded. The total casualties 
of the day were as follows : — 

British Officers. 
Killed — Lieutenant R. T. Greaves, Lanes. Fusiliers. 

,, ,, H. L. S. Maclean, Guides. 

Wounded severely — Captain M. E. Palmer, Guides. 

Wounded slightly — Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Adams, Guides. 

Native Ranks — Wounded — 5. 

Followers — Wounded — 2. 

Total Casualties — 11. 

It must be remembered, that but for the incident 
which resulted in the deaths of the officers, and 
which Sir Bindon Blood described in his official 
despatch as an " unfortunate contretemps," the total 
casualties would have only been seven wounded. 
That so strong a position should have been cap- 
tured v/ith so little loss, is due, firstly, to the dispo- 
sitions of the general ; and secondly, to the power of 
the artillery which he had concentrated. The account 
of the first attempt to storm the Dargai position on 
the 2oth of October, before it had been shaken by 
artillery fire, when the Dorsetshire Regiment suffered 
severe loss, roused many reflections among those 
who had witnessed the action of Landakai. 

The next morning, the i8th, the force continued 
their march up the valley of the Upper Swat. The 
natives, thoroughly cowed, offered no further opposi- 
tion and sued for peace. Their losses at Landakai 
were ascertained to have exceeded 500, and they 
realised that they had no chance against the regular 
troops, when these were enabled to use their powerful 


As the troops advanced up the fertile and beauti- 
ful valley, all were struck by the numerous ruins of 
the ancient Buddhists. Here in former times were 
thriving cities, and civilised men. Here, we learn 
from Fa-hien,* were "in all 500 Sangharamas," or 
monasteries. At these monasteries the law of hos- 
pitalit}^ was thus carried out : " When stranger 
bhikshus (begging monks) arrive at one of them, 
their wants are supplied for three days, after which 
they are told to find a resting-place for themselves." 
All this is changed by time. The cities are but 
ruins. Savages have replaced the civilised, bland- 
looldng Buddhists, and the traveller who should 
apply for hospitality, would be speedily shown 
" a resting-place," which would reheve his hosts 
from further trouble concerning him. 

" There is a tradition," continues the intrepid 
monk, who travelled through some of the wildest 
countries of the earth in the darkest ages of its his- 
tory, " that when Buddha came to North India, he 
came to this country, and that he left a print of his 
foot, which is long or short according to the ideas 
of the beholder." Although the learned Fa-hien 
asserts that " it exists, and the same thing is true 
about it at the present day," the various cavalr^^ 
reconnaissances failed to discover it, and we must 
regretfully conclude that it has also been obliterated 
by the tides of time. Here too, says this Buddhistic 
Baedeker, is still to be seen the rock on which " He 
dried his clothes ; and the place where He converted 

* Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms. Translated by James Legge, 
M.A., LL.D. 


the wicked dragon (Naga)." " The rock is fourteen 
cubits high and more than twenty broad, with one 
side of it smooth." This may well be believed ; but 
there are so many rocks of all dimensions that the sol- 
diers were unable to make certain which was the scene 
of the dragon's repentance, and Buddha's desiccation. 

His companions went on ahead towards Jellala- 
bad, or some city in that locality, but Fa-hien, 
charmed with the green and fertile beauties of " the 
park," remained in the pleasant valley and " kept 
the summer retreat." Then he descended into the 
land of So-hoo-to, which is perhaps Buner. 

Even in these busy, practical, matter-of-fact, 
modem times, where nothing is desirable unless 
economically sound, it is not unprofitable for a 
moment to raise the veil of the past, and take a 
glimpse of the world as it was in other days. The 
fifth century of the Christian era v/as one of the 
most gloomy and dismal periods in the history of 
mankind. The Great Roman Empire was collaps- 
ing before the strokes of such as Alaric the Goth, 
Attila the Hun, and Genseric the Vandal. The 
art and valour of a classical age had sunk in that 
deluge of barbarism which submerged Europe. 
The Church was convulsed by the Arian controversy. 
That pure religion, which it should have guarded, 
was defiled mth the blood of persecution and de- 
graded by the fears of superstition. Yet, while all 
these things afflicted the nations of the West, and 
seemed to foreshadow the decline or destruction of 
the human species, the wild mountains of Northern 
India, now overrun by savages more fierce than 


those who sacked Rome, were occupied by a placid 
people, thriving, industrious, and intelligent ; de- 
voting their lives to the attainment of that serene 
annihilation which the word nirvana expresses. 
When we reflect on the revolutions which time 
effects, and observe how the home of learning and 
progress changes as the years pass by, it is impos- 
sible to avoid the conclusion, perhaps a mournful 
one, that the sun of civiHsation can never shine all 
over the world at once. 

On the 19th, the force reached Mingaora, and 
here for five days they waited in an agreeable camp, 
to enable Major Deane to receive the submission of 
the tribes. These appeared much hum.bled by their 
defeats, and sought to propitiate the troops by 
bringing in supplies of grain and forage. Over 800 
arms of different descriptions were surrendered 
during the halt. A few shots were fired into the 
camp on the night of the arrival at Mingaora, but 
the villagers, fearing lest they should suffer, turned 
out and drove the " snipers " away. On the 21st a 
reconnaissance as far as the Kotke Pass afforded 
much valuable information as to the nature of the 
country. All were struck with the beauty of the 
scenery, and when on the 24th the force marched 
back to Barikot, they carried away \rith them the 
memory of a beautiful valley, v\'here the green of the 
rice fields was separated from the blue of the sky 
by the gUttering snow peaks of the Himalayas. 

While the troops rested at Barikot, Sir Bindon 
Blood personally reconnoitred the Karakar Pass, 
which leads from the Swat Valley into the countn,^ 


of the Bunerwals. The Bunerwals belong to the 
Yusaf section, of the Yusafzai tribe. They are a 
warUke and turbulent people. To their valley, 
after the suppression of the Indian Mutiny, many 
of the Sepoys and native officers who had been in 
revolt fled for refuge. Here, partly by force and 
partly by persuasion, they established themselves. 
They married women of the country and made 
a settlement. In 1863 the Bunerwals came into 
collision with the British Government and much 
severe fighting ensued, known to history as the 
Ambeyla Campaign. The refugees from India 
renewed their quarrel with the white troops with 
eagerness, and by their extraordinary courage and 
ferocity gained the name of the " Hindustani 
Fanatics." At the cost of thirty-six officers and 
eight hundred men Buner was subdued. The 
" Crag Picket " was taken for the last time by the 
loist Fusiliers, and held till the end of the opera- 
tions. Elephants, brought at great expense from 
India, trampled the crops. Most of the " Hindu- 
stani Fanatics " perished in the fighting. The 
Bunerwals accepted the Government terms, and the 
troops retired. Since then, in 1868, in 1877 and 
again in 1884 they raided border villages, but on 
the threat of an expedition paid a fine and made good 
the damage. The reputation they have enjoyed 
since their stout resistance in 1863, has enabled 
them to take a leading position among the frontier 
tribes ; and they have availed themselves of this to 
foment and aggravate several outbreaks against 
the British. Their black and dark-blue clothes 


had distinguished them from the other assailants 
of Malakand and Chakdara. They had now with- 
drawn to their valley and thence defied the Govern- 
ment and refused all terms. 

As Sir Bindon Blood and his escort approached 
the top of the pass, a few -shots were fired by the 
watchers there, but there was no opposition. All 
the Bunerwals had hurried over to defend the 
southern entrances to their country, which they 
conceived were in danger of attack from Brigadier- 
General Wodehouse's force at Rustum. The general 
reached the Kotal, and saw the v/hole valley beneath 
him. Great villages dotted the plains and the 
aspect was fertile and prosperous. 

The unguarded Karakar Pass was practicable for 
troops, and if the Government would give their 
consent, Buner might be reduced in a fortnight 
without difficulty, almost without fighting. 

Telegrams were despatched to India on the sub- 
ject, and after much delay and hesitation the Viceroy 
decided against the recommendation of his victo- 
rious general. Though the desirability of settling 
with the Bunerwals was fully admitted, the Gov- 
ernment shrank from the risk. The Malakand 
Field Force thus remained idle for nearly a fortnight. 
The news, that the Sirkar had feared to attack 
Buner, spread like wildfire along the frontier, and 
revived the spirits of the tribes. They fancied they 
detected a sign of weakness. Nor were they alto- 
gether wrong. But the weakness was moral rather 
than physical. 

It is now asserted, that the punishment of Buner 


is only postponed, and that a few months may see 
its consummation.* The opportunity of entering 
the country without having to force the passes may 
not, however, recur. 

On the 26th of August the force returned to 
Thana, and the expedition into Upper Swat ter- 
minated, t 

* Written in 1897. 

t The following is the most trustworthy estimate obtainable of 
loss of life among the tribesmen in the fighting in the Swat Valley 
from 26th July to 17th August. The figures include woimded, 
who have since died, and are more than double those killed out- 
right in the actions : — 

1. Lower Swat Pathans . . . 700 ^ ^ . , . ., 
T. t- Buned m the 

2. Lipper „ „ . . . . 600 V , 
„ ^ graveyards. 

3. Bimer proper 500 ; ° 

4. Utman Khel 80 

5. Yusafzai 50 

6. Other tribes 150 

Total — 2080. 

I, 2 and 3 are the result of recent inquiry on the spot. 

4, 5 and 6 are estimates based on native information. 

The proportion of killed and died of wounds to wounded would 
be very high, as the tribes have Uttle surgical or medical know- 
ledge and refused all offers of aid. Assuming that only an equal 
nvimber were wounded and recovered, the total loss would be 
approximately 4000. A check is obtained by comparing these 
figures with the separate estimates for each action : — 

Malakand 700 

Siege of Chal-cdara 2000 

Relief ,, ., 500 

Action of Landakai 500 

Total — 3700. 



Causes of the Expedition — Summary of the Action of 
Shabkadr — The Forces Employed — General Plan 
of the Operations — Advance of the Malakand 
Field Force — The Passage of the Panjkora — 
Pohtical Aspect of the Country. 

nnHE beginning of this chapter must mark a 
X change in the standpoint from which the story 
is told. Hitherto the course of events has been 
recorded in the impersonal style of history. But 
henceforward I am able to rely on my own memory 
as well as on other people's evidence.* It may be 
doubtful whether an historical record gains or loses 
value when described by an eye-witness. From the 
personal point of view, all things appear in a gradual 
perspective, according to the degree in which they 

* I do not desire to bore the reader or depreciate the story by 
the introduction of personal matters. It will be sufficient if, in the 
interests of coherency, I explain my connection with the Malakand 
Field Force. Having realised, that if a British cavalry officer waits 
till he is ordered on active service, he is likely to wait a consider- 
able time, I obtained six weeks' leave of absence from my regiment, 
and on the and of September arrived at Malakand as press corre- 
spondent of the Pioneer and Daily Telegraph, and in the hope of 
bein£f sooner or later attached to the force in a military capacity. 


affect the individual ; and we are so prone to exag- 
gerate the relative importance of incidents, which 
we see, over those we hear about, that what the 
narrative gains in accuracy of detail, it may lose in 
justness of proportion. In so nice a question I 
£hall not pronounce. I remember that the original 
object with which this book was undertaken, was to 
present a picture of the war on the North-West 
Frontier to the EngUshmen at home ; a picture 
which should not only exist, but be looked at ; and 
T am inclined to think, that this end will be more 
easily attained by the adoption of a style of personal 
narrative. Many facts, too local, too speciaUsed, 
too insignificant, for an historical record, and yet 
which may help the reader to form a true impression 
of the scene and situation, are thus brought within 
the compass of these pages. The account becomes 
more graphic if less imposing, more vivid if less 
judicial. As long as each step down from the 
" dignity of history " is accompanied by a corre- 
sponding increase in interest, we may pursue without 
compunction that pleasant, if descending, path. 

The ninth chapter also introduces a new phase 
of the operations of the force. The Mohmands 
now become the enem}- and the scene is changed 
from Swat to Bajaur. Before marching into their 
country, it will be desirable to consider briefly those 
causes and events which induced the Government 
of India to despatch an expedition against this 
powerful and warlike tribe. 

The tidal wave of fanaticism, which had swept 
the frontier, had influenced the Mohmands, as all 


other border peoples. Their situation was, how- 
ever, in several important respects, different from 
that of the natives of the Swat Valley. These 
Mohmands had neither been irritated nor interfered 
with in any way. No military road ran through 
their territory. No fortified posts stirred their 
animosity or threatened their independence. Had 
they respected in others the isolation which they 
themselves have so long enjoyed, they might have 
remained for an indefinite period in that state of 
degraded barbarism which seems to appeal so 
strongly to certain people in England. They be- 
came, . however, the aggressors. 

In the heart of the wild and dismal mountain 
region, in which these fierce tribesmen dwell, are the 
temple and village of Jarobi : the one a consecrated 
hovel, the other a fortified slum. This obscure and 
undisturbed retreat was the residence of a priest of 
great age and of peculiar hoHness, known to fame as 
the Hadda Mullah. His namxe is Najb-ud-din, but 
as respect has prevented it being mentioned by the 
tribesmen for nearly fifty years, it is only preserved 
in infidel memories and records. The Government 
of India have, however, had this man's personality 
brought vividly before them on several occasions. 
About thirteen years ago he quarrelled with the 
Amir and raised the Mohmands against him. The 
Amir replied by summoning his rebellious subject — 
for Hadda, the Mullah's home and birthplace, is a 
village of Afghanistan — to answer for his conduct at 
Cabul. But the crafty priest, who was well ac- 
quainted with Afghan legal procedure, declined the 


invitation, and retired to the independent Mohmand 
territory, where he has lived ever since. 

Content with thus inflicting the punishment of 
exile, the Amir was disposed to forget the offence. 
In a letter to his Commander-in-Chief, the " Sipah 
Salar," a great friend of the Mullah, he described 
him as a " light of Islam." So powerful a light, 
indeed, he did not desire to have in his own domin- 
ions ; but across the border it was fitting that 
respect should be shown to so holy a man. He 
therefore directed his officials to cherish and honour 
him. Thus he retained a powerful weapon — to be 
used when desirable. Whether by instigation or 
from personal motives, the Hadda Mullah has long 
been a bitter foe to the British power. In 1895 he 
sent the fighting men of the Mohmands to resist 
the Chitral Relief Force. Since then he has been 
actively engaged, by preaching and by correspond- 
ence with other Mullahs, in raising a great com- 
bination against the advancing ci^dlisation. 

In 1896 he terminated a long reUgious contro- 
versy with the Manki Mullah of Xowshera and 
Spinkhara — a comparatively tame ^luUah, who now 
supports the Indian Government — by publishing a 
book setting forth his views, and demolishing those 
of his antagonist. This work was printed in Delhi 
and had an extensive sale among Mahommedans all 
over India. Complimentary copies were sent to 
the " Sipah Salar " and other Afghan notabiUties, 
and the fame of the Hadda Mullah was known 
throughout the land. Besides increasing liis influ- 
ence, his literary success stimulated his efforts. 


While the Mad Fakir was rousing Swat and Buner, 
this powerful priest incited the Mohmands. Though 
he was known to be a physical coward, his sanctity 
and the fact that he was their own particular holy 
man, not less than his eloquence, powerfully moved 
this savage tribe. A Jehad was proclaimed. How 
long should Islam be insulted ? How long should 
its followers lurk in the barren lands of the North ? 
He urged themx to rise and join in the destruction 
of the white invaders. Those who fell should be- 
come saints ; those who lived would be rich, for these 
Kafirs had money and many other things besides, 
for which a true believer might find a use. 

The combined allurements of plunder and para- 
dise proved irresistible. On the 8th of August a 
great gathering, nearly 6000 strong, crossed the 
frontier line, invaded British territory, burned the 
village of Shankargarh, and attacked the fort of 
Shabkadr. This place is an advanced post in the 
defensive system of the frontier, and is situated 
some nineteen miles to the north-west of Peshawar. 
Its ordinary garrison consists of about fiftj^ Border 
Police. It is strongly built, and is intended to 
attract the attention and delay the advance of a 
raiding-party, until the Peshaw^ar garrison has had 
time to take the field. Both of these objects it 
admirably fulfilled in this case. 

As soon as the news of the incursion of the Moh- 
mands was received in Peshawar, a flying colunm 
v/as mobilised and proceeded under the command 
of Lieut. -Colonel J. B. Woon, 20th Punjaub Infantry, 
in the direction of the fort. At dawn on the 9th of 


August they found the tribesmen in force in a strong 
position near Shabkadr. The force at Colonel 
Woon's disposal was small. It consisted of : — 

4 Guns 51st Field Battery. 

2 squadrons 13th Bengal Lancers 151 lances. 

2 Companies Somersetshire Light Infantry . . 186 rifles. 

20th Punjaub Infantry 400 „ 

A total of about 750 men. The enemy numbered 
6000. Nevertheless it was decided to attack at 

As the action which followed is but remotely 
connected with the fortunes of the Malakand Field 
Force, I do not intend to describe it in detail. The 
infantry in advancing could only attack on a front 
of 600 yards. The enemy's line, being much longer, 
quickly turned both flanks. The fire became severe. 
Numerous casualties occurred. A retirement was 
ordered. As is usual in Asiatic warfare, it was 
considerably pressed. The situation at about nine 
o'clock appeared critical. At this point Brigadier- 
General Elles, commanding the Peshawar District, 
arrived on the field. He immediately ordered the 
two squadrons of the 13th Bengal Lancers to move 
well to the right flank, to charge across the front 
and check the enemy's advance. The *' cease fire " 
sounded as on a field day. Then there was a pause. 
The movements of the cavalry were concealed from 
most of the troops, but suddenly all noticed the 
slackening of the enemy's fire. Then the tribesmen 
were seen to be in retreat and disorder. The power 
of cavalry had been strikingly displayed. The two 


squadrons, ably led, had executed a fine charge 
over what theorists would call impossible ground 
for a distance of one and a half miles along the bed 
of a great nullah, and among rocks and stones that 
reduced the pace to a trot. The enemy were driven 
from the field. Sixty were actually speared by the 
Lancers, and the rest retreated in gloom and dis- 
order to their hills across the frontier. 
The casualties were as follows : — 

British Officers. 

Wounded severely — Major A. Lumb, Somersetshire Light 
„ „ Captain S. W. Blacker, R.A. 

„ ,, 2nd Lieut. E. Drummond, Somersetshire 

Light Infantry. 
Wounded slightly — Lieut. A. V. Cheyne, 13th Bengal Lancers. 

British N.C.O.'s and Soldiers. 

Kiikd. Wounded. 

51st Field Battery, R.A 2 

Somersetshire Light Infantry 3 9 

Native Ranks. 

13th Bengal Lancers i 12 

20th Punjaub Infantry 5 35 

Followers i 

Total casualties, all ranks — 72. 

That such an outrage, as the dehberate \dolation 
of British territory by these savages, should remain 
unpunished, " Forward Policy " or no " Forward 
Policy," was of course impossible. Yet the vacilla- 
tion and hesitancy which the Government of India 
had displayed in the matter of the Bunerwals, and 
the shocking and disgraceful desertion of the forts 

in the Khyber Pass, were so fresh in all men's minds, 
that the order to advance against the Mohmands 
was received with feelings of the greatest reUef 
throughout the forces. The general plan of the 
operations as arranged by the Commander-in-Chief 
was as follows : — 

1. Sir B'ndon Blood with two brigades of the Malakand Field 
Force and due proportions of cavalry and guns was to move 
through South Bajaur to Nawagai, and on the 15th of September 
invade the Mohmand country from that place. 

2. On the same date Major-General Elles with an equal force 
would leave Shabkadr, and entering the mountains march north- 
east to effect a junction. 

3. This having been done, the combined forces under the 
supreme command of Sir Bindon Blood would be brought back 
through the Mohmands' territories to Shabkadr. Incidentally 
they would deal with the Hadda Mullah's village of Jarobi, and 
inflict such punishment on the tribesmen as might be necessary 
to ensure their submission. The troops would then be available 
for the Tirah Expedition, which it had by this time been decided 
to organise. 

The fact that after leaving Nawagai, nothing was 
known of the configuration of the country, of which 
no maps existed ; nor of the supplies of food, forage 
and water available by the way, made the prepara- 
tions for, and the execution of, these operations 
somewhat difficult. Wide margins had to be 
allowed in the matter of rations, and in order to be 
prepared for all contingencies and obstructions of 
ground. Sir Bindon Blood equipped his 2nd Brigade 
entirely with mule transport. The 3rd Brigade with 
camels would follow if the road v/as passable. 

The following was the composition of the forces 
employed : — 


I. Malakaxd Field Force. 

Commanding — r^Iajor-General Sir Bindon Blood. 

2nd Brigade. 
Brigadier-General Jeffreys, C.B. 
The BufEs. 
35 th Sikhs. 
38th Dogras. 
Guides Infantry. 

No. 4 Company (Bengal) Sappers and Miners. 
No. 7 Mountain Battery. 

Srd Brigade. 
Brigadier-General Wodehouse. 
The Queen's Regiment.* 
22nd Pimjaub Infantry. 
39th Pimjaub Infantry. 

No. 3 Company (Bombay) Sappers and Miners. 
No. I Mountain Battery, R.A. 

Cavalry — nth Bengal Lancers. 
Line of Commiinicatioits. 1st Brigade. 
Brigadier-General MetklejohiL 
Royal West Kent. 
Highland Light Infantry. 
31st Punjaub Infantry. 

45th Sikhs. 

No. 7 British Moimtain Battery. 
And the follo%ving additional troops : — 

1 Squadron loth Bengal Lancers. 

2 Squadrons Guides Cavalry. 

II. The Mohmand Field Force. 
1st Brigade. 
ist Battalion Somersetshire Light Infantry. 
Maxim Gun Detachment, ist BattaUon Devonshire Regiment. 
2oth Punjaub Infantry. 
2nd Battalion ist Gurkhas. 

* This regiment had replaced the Gordon Highlanders in the 
3rd Brigade. 



Sections A and B No. 5 British Field Hospital. 
Three Sections No. 31 Native „ „ 

Section A No. 45 „ „ » 

2nd Brigade. 
2nd Battalion Oxfordshire Light Infantry. 
9th Gurkha Rifles. 
37th Dogras. 

Sections C and D No. 5 British Field Hospital 
No. 44 Native Field Hospital. 

Divisional Troops. 
13th Bengal Lancers. 
No. 3 Mountain Battery, Royal Artillery. 
No. 5 (Bombay) Mountain Battery. 
No. 5 Company (Bengal) Sappers and Miners. 
28th Bombay Pioneers, 
ist Patiala Infantry. 
Sections C and D No. 63 Native Field Hospital. 

To record the actual movements of troops in a 
campaign, is among the most important duties of 
one who undertakes to tell its tale. For the sake 
of clearness, of brevity, and that the reader who is 
not interested may find convenience in skipping, I 
shall at once describe the whole of the marches and 
manoeuvres, by which Sir Bindon Blood moved his 
brigades across the Panjkora River, and after the 
Malakand Field Force is safely camped at Ghosam, 
the reader will be invited to return to examine the 
scenery, and remark the incidents of the way. 

During the end of August, the 2nd Brigade, 
equipped \\'ith mule transport, was at Khar in the 
Swat Valley. The 3rd Brigade was at Uch. On 
the 2nd of September, definite orders to advance 
were received from Simla. In pursuance of these 
instructions. Sir Bindon Blood ordered Brigadier- 


General Wodehouse with the 3rd Brigade, which in 
anticipation had been moved from Uch a few days 
previously, to take over the bridge across the Panj- 
kora from the Khan of Dir's Levies, and secure the 
passage. On the 6th, the 3rd Brigade marched 
from Sarai to Panjkora, and obtained possession 
of the bridge just in time to prevent it falhng into 
the hands of the enemy, who had already gathered 
to seize it. The 12-pounder guns of the loth Field 
Battery were placed in a strong position command- 
ing the passage, and the brigade camped on the 
left bank. On the same day, Brigadier-General 
Jeffreys with headquarters marched from Khar to 
Chakdara. On the 7th he proceeded to Sarai, 
and on the 8th effected the passage of the Panj- 
kora, and camped on the further bank at Kotkai. 
On the loth, both brigades marched to Ghosam, 
where they concentrated. On the line of communi- 
cations to the Malakand, stages were established at 
Chakdara and Sarai, v/ith accomm.odation for sick 
and wounded. An advanced depot was formed 
behind the Panj'kora, to guard which and to hold 
the passage, an additional force was moved from 
the Swat Valley. 

This concentration at Ghosam, of which the 
details had worked out so mechanically, had been 
necessitated by the attitude of the tribesmen of 
Bajaur and the adjoining valleys. Great gather- 
ings had collected, and up to the 7th of September 
there had been every sign of determined opposition. 
So formidable did the combination appear, that 
Sir Bindon Blood arranged to have at his disposal 


a force of six squadrons, nine battalions and three 
batteries, in the expectation of an action at or near 
Ghosam, which would perhaps have been on a 
larger scale than any British engagement since 

These anticipations were however doomed to dis- 
appointment. The methodical, remorseless advance 
of powerful forces filled the tribesmen with alarm. 
They made a half-hearted attempt to capture the 
Panjkora bridge, and finding themselves forestalled, 
fell again to discussing terms. In this scene of in- 
decision the political officers employed all their arts. 
And then suddenly the whole huge combination, 
which had been raised in our path, collapsed as an 
iceberg, when southern waters have melted its base. 

Whatever the philanthropist may say, it would 
appear to have been better policy to have en- 
couraged the tribesmen to oppose the advance in 
the open, on some well-defined position. Had they 
done so, there can be no doubt that the two fine 
brigades, backed by a powerful artillery, and under 
a victorious commander, who knew and had fought 
over every inch of the ground, would have defeated 
them with severe loss. Bajaur would have been 
settled at a single blow and probably at a far less 
cost in lives than was afterwards incurred. Instead 
of this, it was the aim of our diplomacy to dissipate 
the opposition. The inflammation, which shoiild 

♦ As so many misconceptions exist as to the British casualties 
in this victory, it is necessary to state that in the twenty minutes' 
fighting II ofi&cers and 43 men were killed and 22 ofl&cers and 320 
men were wounded. 


have been brought to a head and then operated on, 
was now dispersed throughout the whole system, 
with what results future chapters will show. 

Having thus brought the brigades peacefully to 
Ghosam, I ask the reader to return to the Mala- 
kand and ride thence with the Headquarters Staff 
along the line of march. On the 5th of September, 
Sir Bindon Blood and his staff, which I had the 
pleasure to accompany, started from the Kotal 
Camp and proceeded across the plain of Khar to 
Chakdara. Here we halted for the night, and as 
the scenery and situation of this picturesque fort 
have already been described, the march may be 
continued without delay next morning. From 
Chakdara to Sarai is a stage of twelve miles. The 
road runs steadily up the valley until the summit 
of the Catgalla Pass is reached. " Catgalla " means 
"Cut-throat," and, indeed, it is not hard to beUeve 
that this gloomy defile has been the scene of dark and 
horrid deeds. Thence a descent of two miles leads to 
Sarai. On the way, we fell in with the 2nd Brigade, 
and had to leave the road to avoid the long lines of 
mules and marching men who toiled along it. 

The valley at Sarai is about two miles wide, and 
the mountains rise steeply from it. On every ridge 
it is possible to distinguish the red brick ruins 
which were the dwellings of the ancient Buddhists. 
These relics of an early civilisation, long since over- 
tlirown and forgotten, cannot fail to excite interest 
and awaken reflection. They carry the mind back 
to the times " when the smoke of sacrifice rose from 
the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers 


bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre." And they 
also lead us to speculations of the future, till we 
wonder whether the traveller shall some day in- 
spect, with unconcerned composure, the few scraps 
of stone and iron which may indicate the British 
occupation of India. Few, indeed, the remains 
would be — for we build for immediate use, not 
future ostentation in these days, and if we should 
ever cease to be a force in the world, all traces of 
us would soon be obliterated by time. Yet, perhaps, 
if that unborn critic of remote posterity would 
remember that " in the days of the old British," 
the rice crop had been more abundant, the number 
of acres under cultivation greater, the population 
larger and the death rate lower, than at any period 
in the history of India — we should not be without 
a monument more glorious than the pyramids. 

We camped with the 2nd Brigade on the night 
of the 6th, and next morning, while the stars were 
still shining, resumed the march. Five miles from 
Sarai the road dwindles to a mule track, and hence- 
forward is not fit for wheeled traffic. In spite of 
this, the loth Field Battery had succeeded in 
getting their guns along it, and had brought them 
safely to Panjkora. But soldiers will accomplish 
a good deal to get nearer the enemy. The scenery 
before the gorge of the river is reached is gloomy, 
but grand. Great cliffs tower up precipitously on the 
further bank and the path is cut in the face of the 
rock. The river, which flows swiftly by, plunges into 
a narrow cleft about a mile below the bridge, and 
disappears among the mountains. It abounds in fish. 


but is rapid and dangerous, and, while the troops 
were encamped near it, two gunners lost their lives 
by falling in, and being carried down. Indeed, 
watching the dead bodies of several camels being 
swept along, swirled around, and buffeted against 
the rocks, it was not hard to understand these 

At length the bridge is reached. It is a frail 
structure, supported on wire ropes. At each end 
are gates, flanked by httle mud towers. The 
battery was est-ablished on a knoll to the right, and 
the long muzzles of the guns peered through stone 
embrasures at the opposite hills. It was round the 
bases of these hills that much hard fighting took 
place in the Chitral campaign. About half a mile 
beyond the bridge, I was shown the place where 
the Guides had been so hard pressed, and for a 
whole night had had to stand at bay, their colonel 
killed, the bridge broken, and the river in flood, 
against the tribesmen in overwhelming numbers. 

The field telegraph stopped at the bridge-head, 
and a small tent with a half-dozen military operators 
marked the breaking of the slender thread that 
connected us, across thousands of miles of sea and 
land, with London. Henceforward a line of signal 
stations with their flickering helios would be the 
only Hnks. We were at the end of the wire. I 
have often stood at the other and watched the 
tape machine click off the news as it arrives ; the 
movements of the troops ; the prospects of action ; 
the fighting ; the casualties. How different are 
the scenes. The club on an autumn evening — its 


members grouped anxiously around, discussing, 
wondering, asserting ; the noise of the traffic out- 
side ; the cigarette smoke and electric lights within. 
And, only an hour away along the wire, the field, 
with the bright sunlight shining on the swirling 
muddy waters ; the black forbidding rocks ; the 
white tents of the brigade a mile up the valley ; 
the long streak of vivid green rice crop by the 
river ; and in the foreground the brown-clad armed 
men. I can never doubt which is the right end to 
be at. It is better to be making the news than 
taking it ; to be an actor rather than a critic. 

To cross the bridge, it was necessary to dismount 
and lead the horses over in single file. Even 
then the swinging of the whole structure made 
it difficult to walk. The passage of the transport 
under such conditions occupied all the day, and 
the unfortunate officers in charge of the mule 
trains were working incessantly. The staff passed 
quickly, however, and riding on about a mile forded 
the tributary stream of the Jandol, and reached the 
camp at Kotkai about noon. Thence we pro- 
ceeded on the following day to Ghosam., but as the 
road is uninteresting, and I am beginning to think 
the reader will readily excuse further description, 
we need not toil along it in the dust and the heat. 
The narration of the daily movements of troops, 
unmarked by variety of incident, is dull and weary- 
ing. Yet he who would obtain a true idea of the 
soldier's life on service, must mentally share the 
fatigues of the march and the monotony of the 
camp. The fine deeds, the thrilling moments of war. 


are but the high Hghts on a picture, of which the 
background is routine, hard work, and discomfort. 

At Ghosam the 2nd Brigade remained until 
joined by the 3rd and pending negotiations between 
the pohtical of&cers and the tribal Jirgahs. 

The use of purely local terms in all writing is to 
be deprecated. Perhaps the reason that no popular 
history of India exists, is to be found in the out- 
landish names of the characters, and the other ex- 
pressions with which the pages are sprinkled. In 
this account I have zealously tried to avoid the 
ugly jargon of a degraded language, and to mini- 
mise the use of native names. The term just 
employed hcis, however, been so freely used in the 
newspapers recently, that it is perhaps as well to 
explain its meaning. A Jirgah is a deputation 
of tribesmen. It does not necessarily represent 
the tribe. It may present — and very often does — 
a minority report. Occasionally it expresses the 
opinion only of its own members. "WTiat has 
been settled one day is therefore very often 
overruled the next. The Jirgah may accept terms 
of peace in the morning, and the camp may be 
rushed that night. These were, however, genuine, 
and spoke in the name and with the authority of 
the tribes. All day they kept arriving and squat- 
ting in rows before Major Deane's tent, to hear the 
Government terms. The chief condition imposed, 
was the surrender of rifles. A fixed number, 
based on calculation of wealth and population, 
was demanded from each clan. This method of 
punishment is peculiarly galling to a people whose 


life is so full of war. No other course was, however, 
open but submission, and, promising that the terms 
should be complied with, the deputations departed. 
To stimulate their efforts and zeal in collecting their 
arms, the combined movements were delayed for 
three days, and the forces remained encamped at 
Ghosam, near Manda. 

I avail myself of this halt to touch, albeit with no 
little trepidation, the tangled and obscure subject of 
tribal politics in Dir and Bajaur. All the people, 
incited by their priests, are bitterly hostile to the 
British Government, except those benefited by the 
subsidies paid. They were now anxious to fight, 
and were only restrained by a fear which fury or 
fanaticism might at any moment overcome. Four 
principal khans exercise an authority which varies 
locally, from absolute dominion to a shadowy suze- 
rainty, over the whole region. The Khan of Dir, the 
most important, is a Government nominee. He is 
supported by the British influence, and is, as I have 
already noticed, entrusted with the raising of Levies 
to protect and keep in repair the Chitral road. For 
these services he receives pay, and a certain allow- 
ance of arms and ammunition. His own subjects 
are strongly opposed to his rule from dislike of his 
British sympathies, and he only maintains himself 
by the assistance which the Government gives 
him in arms and money. In other words he is a 

The Khan of N^wagai is constrained by fear to 
display a friendly attitude towards the Sirkar. His 
subjects resent this and his position is insecure. 


He receives some moral support from the British 
agents, and as his people are uncertain how far the 
Government would go to uphold him, and also as 
they partly realise his difficult position, they have 
hitherto submitted sullenly to his rule. 

The position and attitude of the Khan of Jar are 
similar, but he is a less influential chief. The fourth 
potentate, the Khan of Khar, is perhaps the most 
honest and trustworthy. He will appear in a later 
chapter, and the reader will have the opportunity 
of judging of his character from his conduct. Thus 
in these valleys, while the people are all hostile, 
their rulers find it expedient to preserve a friendly 
demeanour to the British, and for this they are hated 
by their subjects. 

At this stage, the leader of the popular party 
claims attention. As is usual, he is out of office. 
After the Chitral expedition of 1895, Umra Khan 
was expelled from his territories, and escaped to 
Cabul. There he has remained. The Amir is 
under an obUgation to the British Government to 
prevent his raising trouble in Bajaur. If the 
Amir desired war he would send Umra Khan back. 
This would create a strong faction throughout the 
whole country — but particularly in the Jandol, 
Salarzai and Mamund Valleys — hostile to the 
British and the friendly khans. The Amir hinted 
at this in a recent letter to the Government of 
India ; and such a step would probably precede his 
declaration of war, or follow ours. The Afghan 
sovereign is, however, well aware that he has at 
present nothing to gain, and many things to lose, by 


provoking a war with the great power which gave 
him his throne and has since increased his revenue 
by subsidies. In the meanwhile, anxious to pre- 
serve liis influence with the border tribes, and to 
impress the Indian Government with the fact that 
he could be a powerful foe, he keeps Umra Khan 
as a trump card, to be played when the occasion 
arises. That he may maintain his authority in 
Bajaur, the exiled khan is weU supplied with funds, 
with which to arm and pay his retainers. 

The situation I have thus briefly described has 
been Httle altered by the operations with which 
future chapters are concerned. The friendly khans 
have been fortified in their allegiance and position 
by the military demonstration and by the severe 
punishment inflicted on those tribes who resisted. 
On the other hand, the hostility of the people has 
been not unnaturally increased by war, and one 
tribe in particular has gained a reputation for 
courage, which wiU give them the power to cause 
trouble in the future. I shall not, however, antici- 
pate the tale. 



The Jandul Valley — The Seven Khans — Frontier 
Diplomacy — Barwa- — An Afghan Napoleon — Un- 
practical Reflections — Under the Chenars — The 
Arms Question — Its Significance — The Utman 
Khel Passes — A Virgin Valley — A Successful 
" Blufi "—The Camp at Night. 

WHILE the infantry of both brigades remained 
halted at Ghosam, near Manda, the cavalry 
made daily reconnaissances in all directions. Some- 
times the object in view was topographical, some- 
times military, and at others diplomatic, or to use 
the Indian application of the term, " political." 

On the loth. Major Deane visited the various 
chiefs in the Jandul Valley. I asked and obtained 
permission to accompany him. A change from the 
hot and dusty camp was agreeable to all who could 
be spared, and quite a party was formed, among 
whom were some whose names have occurred 
previously in these pages — Major Beatson, Major 
Hobday, and Lord Fincastle. A squadron of the 
nth Bengal Lancers acted as escort. 

The vaUey of the Jandul is about eight miles 


long and perhaps half as broad. It opens out of the 
main valley, which extends from the Panjkora to 
Nawagai, and is on aU other sides surrounded by 
high and precipitous mountains. The bed of the 
river, although at the time of our visit occupied only 
by a small stream, is nearly half a mile broad and 
bordered by rice fields, to which the water is con- 
ducted by many artfully contrived dykes and 
conduits. The plain itself is arid and sandy, but 
at the winter season yields a moderate crop. The 
presence of water below the surface is attested by 
numerous groves of ckenaY trees. 

This valley may, in natural and political features, 
be taken as typical of the Afghan valleys. Seven 
separate castles formed the strongholds of seven 
separate khans. Some of these potentates had 
been implicated in the attack on the Malakand, 
and our visit to their fastnesses was not wholly of 
an amicable nature. They had all four days before 
been bound by the most sacred oaths to fight to the 
death. The great tribal combination had, however, 
broken up, and at the last moment they had decided 
upon peace. But the Pathan does nothing by 
halves. No black looks, no sullen reserve, marred 
the geniality of their welcome. As we approached 
the first fortified village the sovereign and his army 
rode out to meet us, and with many protestations of 
fidelity, expressed his joy at our safe arrival. He 
was a fine-looking man and sat well on a stamping 
roan stallion. His dress was imposing. A waistcoat 
of gorgeous crimson, thickly covered ^vith gold lace, 
displayed flowing sleeves of white linen, buttoned 


at the wrist. Long, loose, baggy, linen trousers, also 
fastened above the ankle, and curiously pointed 
shoes clothed his nether limbs. This striking 
costume was completed by a small skull-cap, richly 
embroidered, and an ornamental sabre. 

He sprang from his horse with grace and agility, 
to offer his sword to ]\Iajor Deane, who bade him 
mount and ride ^vith him. The army, four or five 
rascally-looking men on shaggy ponies, and armed 
with rifles of widely different patterns, followed at 
a distance. The fort was an enclosure about a hun- 
dred yards square. Its walls were perhaps twenty 
feet high and built of rough stones plastered together 
with mud and interspersed with courses of timber. 
All along the top was a row of loopholes. At each 
comer a tall flanking tower enfiladed the approaches. 
At the gate of this warlike residence some twenty 
or thirty tribesmen were gathered, headed by the 
khan's owti cousin, an elderly man dressed in long 
white robes. All saluted us gravely. The escort 
closed up. A troop trotted off to the right out of 
the hue of fire of the fort. The advance scouts, 
passing round the walls, formed on the farther side. 
These matters of detail complied v/ith, conversation 
began. It was conducted in Pushtu, and was natur- 
ally unintelligible to every one of our party except 
the two political officers. Apparently Major Deane 
reproached the two chiefs for their conduct. He 
accused them of having seized the bridge across the 
Fanjkora and delivered the passage to the fanatic 
crowds that had gathered to attack the Malakand. 
This they admitted readily enough. " WeU, why 


not ? " said they ; " there was a good fair fight." 
Now they would make peace. They bore no malice, 
why should the Sirkar ? 

It was not, however, possible to accept this sports- 
manlike view of the situation. They were asked 
where were the rifles they had been ordered to sur- 
render. At this they looked blank. There were no 
rifles. There never had been any rifles. Let the 
soldiers search the fort and see for themselves. The 
order was given ; three or four sowars drew their 
carbines, dismounted and entered the great and 
heavy gate, which had been suspiciously opened 
a little way. 

The gate gave access to a small courtyard, com- 
manded on every side by an interior defence. In 
front was a large low room of uncertain dimensions : 
a kind of guard-house. It simply hummed with 
men. The outer walls were nearly five feet thick 
and would have resisted the fire of mountain guns. 
It was a strong place. 

The Lancers, accustomed to the operation of 
hunting for arm.s, hurriedly searched the likely and 
usual places, but without success. One thing, how- 
ever, they noticed, which they immediately reported. 
There were no women and children in the fort. 
This had a sinister aspect. Our visit was unexpected 
and had taken them by surprise, but they were pre- 
pared for all emergencies. They had hidden their 
rifles and cleared for action. 

The two chiefs smiled in superior virtue. Of 
course there were no rifles. But matters took, for 
them, an unexpected turn. They had no rifles — 


said Major Deane — very well, they should come them- 
selves. He turned to an officer of the Lancers ; a 
section rode forward and surrounded both men. 
Resistance was useless. Flight was impossible. 
They were prisoners. Yet they behaved with 
Oriental composure and calmly accepted the in- 
evitable. They ordered their ponies and, mounting, 
rode behind us under escort. 

We pursued our way up the valley. As we 
approached each fort, a khan and his retainers 
advanced and greeted us. Against these there was 
no definite charge, and the relations throughout 
were amicable. At the head of the valley is Barwa, 
the home of the most powerful of these princelets. 
This fort had belonged to Umra Khan, and attested, 
by superiority of construction, the intellectual 
development of that remarkable man. After the 
Chitral expedition it had been given by the Govern- 
ment to its present owner, who, bitterl}^ hated by 
the other chieftains of the valley, his near relatives 
mostly, had no choice but loyalty to the British. 
He received us with courtesy and invited us to 
enter and see the fort. This, after taking all 
precautions and posting sentries, we did. It was 
the best specimen of Afghan architecture I have 
seen. In this very fort Lieutenants Fowler and 
Edwards were confined in 1895, when the prisoners 
of Umra Khan. The new chief showed their room 
which opened on a balcony, whence a fine view of 
the whole valley could be obtained. There are 
many worse places of durance. The fort is care- 
fully defended and completely commands the van- 


ous approaches. Judicious arrangements of loop- 
holes and towers cover all dead ground. Inside the 
walls galleries of brushwood enabled the defenders 
to fire without exposing themselves. In the middle 
is the keep, which, if Fortune were adverse, would 
be the last stronghold of the garrison. 

What a strange system of society is disclosed by 
all this ! Here was tliis man, his back against the 
mountains, maintaining himself against the rest of 
the valley, against all his kin, with the fear of 
death and the chances of war ever in his mind, and 
holding his own, partly by force of arms, partly 
by the support of the British agents, and partly 
through the incessant feuds of his adversaries. 

It is " all against all," in these valleys. The two 
khans who had been arrested would have fled to the 
hills. They knew they were to be punished. Still 
they dared not leave their stronghold. A neighbour, 
a relation, a brother perhaps, would step into the 
unguarded keep and hold it for his own. Every 
stone of these forts is blood-stained with treachery ; 
each acre of ground the scene of a murder. In Barwa 
itself, Umra Khan slew his brother, not in hot anger 
or open war, but coldly and deliberately from be- 
hind. Thus he obtained power, and the moralist 
might observe with a shudder, that but for the 
" Forward Policy " he would probably be in fuU 
enjoyment to-day. This Umra Khan was a man 
of much talent, a man intellectually a head and 
shoulders above his countrymen. He was a great 
man, which on the frontier means that he was a 
great murderer, and might have accomplished much 


with the quick-firing guns he was negotiating for, 
and the troops he was drilHng " on the European 
model." The career of this Afghan Napoleon was 
cut short, however, by the intervention of Provi- 
dence in the guise or disguise of the Indian Govern- 
ment. He might have been made use of. People 
who know the frontier well, say that a strong man 
who has felt the grip of the British power is the best 
tool to work with, and that if Umra Khan, humbled 
and overawed, had been reinstated, he might have 
done much to maintain law and order. As long as 
they fight, these Afghans do not mind much on 
which side they fight. There are worse men and 
worse allies helping us to-day. The unpractical 
may wonder why we, a people who fill some con- 
sideiable place in the world, should mix in the petty 
intrigues of these border chieftains, or soil our hands 
by using such tools at aU. Is it fitting that Great 
Britain should play off one brutal khan against his 
neighbours, or balance one barbarous tribe against 
another ? It is as much below our Imperial dignity, 
as it would be for a millionaire to count the lumps 
in the sugar-basin. If it be necessary for the safety 
of our possessions that these territories should be 
occupied, it would be more agreeable to our self- 
respect that we should take them with a strong hand. 
It would be more dignified, but nothing costs more 
to keep up than dignity, and it is perhaps because 
we have always been guided by sound commercial 
principles in this respect that we have attained our 
present proud position. 
After looking roimd the fortress and admiring 

the skill and knowledge with which it was built, we 
were conducted by the khan to the shade of some 
beautiful chenar trees, which grew near a Httle spring 
not far from the walls of the fort. Here were a 
number of charpoys, or native bedsteads, very com- 
fortable, but usually full of bugs, and on these we 

Remembering Maizar, and many other incidents 
of frontier hospitality, sentries were posted on all the 
approaches and a sufficient guard kept under arms. 
Then we had breakfast — a most excellent break- 

The arrangements for the comfort and conveni- 
ence of the troops of the Frontier Force are un- 
equalled. They live more pleasantly and with less 
discomfort on active service than does a British 
regiment at the Aldershot manoeuvres. Whether 
the march be long or short, peaceful or opposed, 
whether the action be successful or the reverse, their 
commissariat never fails. In fact it is only just to 
say that they have always lances and bullets for an 
enemy, and sandwiches and " pegs " for a friend. 

On this occasion, our provisions were supple- 
mented by the hospitality of the khan. A long 
row of men appeared, each laden with food. Some 
carried fruit, — spears or apples ; others piles of 
chupatties, or dishes of pillau. 

Nor were our troopers forgotten. The Mahom- 
medans among them eagerly accepted the proffered 
food. But the Sikhs maintained a remorseful silence 
and declined it. They could not eat what had been 
prepared by Mussulman hands, and so they sat 


gazing wistfully at the appetising dishes, and con- 
tented themselves with a Httle fruit. 

Very austere and admirable they looked, almost 
painfully conscious of their superior virtue. But 
I could not help thinking that had we not been 
spectators the chenar trees might have witnessed 
the triumph of reason over religious prejudice. 

During the heat of the day we rested in this 
pleasant grove, and with sleep and conversation 
passed the hours away, while the sentries pacing 
to and fro alone disturbed the illusion that this 
was some picnic party in a more propitious land. 
Then, as the shadows lengthened, we started upon 
our return to camp. 

On arri\dng, the political officers were pleased, 
and the soldiers disappointed, to find that the 
tribesmen were determined to accept the Govern- 
ment terms. A hundred rifles from the Utman 
Khels had already been surrendered, and now lay 
outside Major Deane's tent, surrounded by a crowd 
of officers, who were busily engaged in examining 

Opinion is divided, and practice has followed 
opinion as to whether, in a tale of travel or of war, 
it is preferable to intersperse the narrative with 
conclusions and discussions, or to collect them all 
into a final chapter. I shall unhesitatingly embrace 
the former method. The story shall be told as it 
happened, and the reader's attention will be directed 
to such considerations and reflections as arise by 
the way. It will therefore be convenient to make 
a digression Lnto the question of the supply of arms 


to the frontier tribes, while a hundred rifles, pro- 
bably a representative hundred, are piled in the 
main street of the camp at Ghosam. 

The perpetual state of intestine war, in which the 
border peoples live, naturally creates a keen demand 
for deadly weapons. A good Martini-Henry rifle 
will always command a price in these parts of Rs. 
400 or about £25. As the actual value of such a rifle 
does not exceed Rs. 50, it is evident that a very 
large margin of profit accrues to the enterprising 
trader. All along the frontier, and from far down 
into India, rifles are stolen by expert and cunning 
thieves. One tribe, the Ut Khels, who live in the 
Laghman Valley, have made the traffic in arms their 
especial business. Their thieves are the most daring 
and their agents the most cunning. Some of their 
methods are highly ingenious. One story is worth 
repeating. A coflin was presented for railway 
transport. The relatives of the deceased accom- 
panied it. The dead man, they said, had desired to 
be buried across the frontier. The smell proclaimed 
the corpse to be in an advanced state of decomposi- 
tion. The railway officials afforded every facility 
for the passage of so unpleasant an object. No one 
checked its progress. It was unapproachable. It 
was only when coffin and mourners were safe 
across the frontier that the police v/ere informed 
that a dozen rifles had been concealed in the coffin, 
and that the corpse was represented by a quarter of 
" well hung " beef ! 

I regret to have to state, that theft is not the only 
means by which the frontier tribes obtain weapons. 


Of a hundred rifles, which the Utman Khels had 
surrendered, nearly a third were condemned Gov- 
ernment Martinis, and displayed the Government 
stamp. Now no such rifles are supposed to exist. 
As soon as they are condemned, the arsenal 
authorities are responsible that they are destroyed, 
and this is in every case carried out under European 
supervision. The fact, that such rifles are not de- 
stroyed and are found in the possession of trans- 
frontier tribesmen, points to a very grave instance 
of dishonest and illegal traffic being carried on by 
some person connected with the arsenal. It need 
hardly be said that a searching inquiry was in- 

Another point connected with these rifles is that 
even when they have been officially destroyed, by 
cutting them in three pieces, the fractions have a 
marketable value. Several were shown me which 
had been rejointd by the tribesmen. These were, 
of course, very dangerous weapons indeed. The 
rest of the hundred had strange tales to tell. Two 
or three were Russian military rifles, stolen probably 
from the distant posts in Central Asia. One was a 
Snider, taken at Maiwand, and bearing the number 
of the ill-fated regiment to which it had belonged. 
Some had come from Europe, perhaps overland 
through Arabia and Persia ; others from the arms 
factory at Cabul. It was a strange instance of the 
tireless efforts of Supply to meet Demand. 

The importance of the arms question cannot be 
exaggerated. The long-range rifle fire, which has 
characterised the great frontier war, is a new feature. 


Hitherto our troops have had to face bold sword 
charges but comparatively little firing. Against the 
former, modem weapons are effective. But no dis- 
cipline and no efficiency can stop bullets hitting men. 
This is a small part of the question. In the matter 
of fighting, what is good enough for the tribesmen 
should be good enough for the soldier. A more 
serious consideration is raised than that of casualties, 
which are after all only the inseparable concomi- 
tant of glory. Transport in mountainous countries 
depends entirely on mules and camels. A great 
number are needed even to supply one brigade. At 
night these animals have to be packed closely in an 
entrenched camp. It is not possible to find camp- 
ing grounds in the valleys which are not commanded 
by some hill or assailable from some nullah. It is 
dangerous to put out pickets, as they may be 
" rushed " or, in the event of a severe attack, shot 
do\vn, by the fire of their main body.* The result 
is that the transport animals must be exposed to 
long-range fire at night. The reader will observe, 
as the account proceeds, that on two occasions a 
large number of transport mules were killed in 
this way. When a certain number are killed, a 
brigade is as helpless as a locomotive without coal. 
It cannot move. Unless it be assisted it must 
starve. Every year the tribesmen will become 
better marksmen, more completely armed with 
better rifles. If they recognise the policy of con- 
tinually firing at our animals, they may bring all 

* This applies to Swat and Bajaur, where the sword charge is 
still to be apprehended. 


operations to a standstill. And so by this road I 
reach the conclusion that whatever is to be done 
on the frontier, should be done as quickly as 
possible. But to return to the story. 

The next day, the nth of September, the troops 
remained halted at Ghosam, and another squadron 
was ordered to escort the Intelligence Ofhcer, 
Captain H. E. Stanton, D.S.O., while making a 
topographical reconnaissance of the passes into the 
Utman Khel country. The opportunity of making 
fresh maps and of adding to and correcting the 
detail of existing maps only occurs v/hen troops are 
passing through the country, and must not be 
neglected. The route lay up the main vaUey which 
leads to Nawagai. We started early, but the way 
was long and the sun high before we reached the 
entrance of the pass. The landscape was one of 
the strangest I shall ever see. On the opposite 
bank of the river were the dwellings of the Utman 
Khels, and in an area seven miles by three, I counted 
forty-six separate castles, complete with moats, 
towers and turrets. The impression produced was 
extraordinary. It suggested Grimm's fairy tales. 
It almost seemed as if we had left the natural earth 
and strayed into some strange domain of fancy, the 
resort of giants or ogres. 

To reach the pass, we were comxpelled to traverse 
a large village, and as the situation in the narrow, 
winding streets w^as about as awkward for cavalry 
as could be imagined, every possible precaution was 
taken to guard against attack. At length the 
squadron passed safely through and formed up on 


the farther side. The steep ascent to the passes 
became visible. As there were two routes to be re- 
connoitred, the party was divided, and after a hasty 
breakfast we commenced the cUmb. For a con- 
siderable distance it was possible to ride. At every 
difficult turn of the track sowars were posted to secure 
the retreat, if it should be necessary to come back 
in a hurry. The head man of the village furnished 
a guide, a cheery and amusing fellow, who professed 
much soUcitude for our safety. But no reliance 
could be placed on these people, and on the opposite 
side of the valley numerous figures could be seen 
moving along and keeping pace with our advancing 
party. At length the horses and the greater part 
of the escort had to be abandoned. I accompanied 
Captain Stanton, and Captain Cole, who com- 
manded the squadron and was also Reuters corre- 
spondent, with a couple of troopers to the top of the 
pass. The day was intensely hot, and the arduous 
clim.b excited a thirst which there was nothing to 
allay. At length we gained the sum^mit, and stood 
on the Kotal. 

Far below us was a valley, into which perhaps 
no white man had looked since Alexander crossed 
the mountains on his march to India. Numerous 
villages lay dotted about in its depths, while others 
nestled against the hills. Isolated forts were dis- 
tinguishable, while large trees showed there was 
no lack of water. It was a view that repaid the 
exertions of the climb, even if it did not quench the 
thirst they had excited. 

While Captain Stanton was making his sketch, — 


one of those useful view-sketches, now taking the 
place of all others, in rapid cavalry reconnaissance, 
we amused our fancy by naming the drinks we 
should order, were a nice, clean European waiter at 
hand to get them. I forget what my selection was, 
but it was something very long and very cold. 
Alas ! how far imagination lags behind reality. 
The vivid impressions which we conjured up — the 
deep glasses, and the clinking ice — did little to 
dissipate the feeUngs of discomfort. 

Our guide meanwhile squatted on the ground and 
pronounced the names of all the villages, as each one 
was pointed at. To make sure there was no mis- 
take, the series of questions was repeated. This 
time he gave to each an entirely different name 
with an appearance of great confidence and pride. 
However, one unpronounceable name is as good as 
another, and the villages of the valley will go down 
to official history, christened at the caprice of a 
peasant. But perhaps many records, now accepted 
as beyond dispute, are derived from such a slender 

The sketch finished, we commenced the descent 
and reached our horses without incident. The 
squadron concentrated near the village, and we 
heard that the other sketching party had met with 
more adventures than had fallen to our lot. 

It was commanded by Lieutenant Hesketh, a 
young officer, who was severely wounded at the 
storming of the Maiakand Pass in 1895, and who, 
having again volunteered for active service, was 
attached to the nth Bengal Lancers. At the foot 


of the pass he dismounted his troop and, taking a 
few men with him, began the climb. The pass was 
occupied by tribesmen, who threatened to fire on 
the party if they advanced farther. The subaltern 
replied, that he only wished to see the country on 
the other side and did not intend to harm any one. 
At the same time he pursued his way and the tribes- 
men, not wishing to bring matters to a crisis, fell 
back slowly, repeatedly taking aim, but never dar- 
ing to fire. He reached the top of the pass and 
Captain Walters, the Assistant Intelhgence Officer, 
was able to make a most valuable sketch of the coun- 
try beyond. It was a bold act and succeeded more 
through its boldness than from any other cause ; 
for, had the tribesmen once opened fire, very few of 
the party could have got down alive. Making a 
detour to avoid the village, which it was undesir- 
able to traverse a second time, the squadron returned 
and arrived at the camp at Ghosam as the sun was 

The service camp of an Anglo-Indian brigade is 
arranged on regular principles. The infantry and 
guns are extended in the form of a square. The 
animals and cavalry are placed inside. In the 
middle is the camp of the Headquarters staff, with 
the tent of the brigadier facing that of the general 
commanding the division. All around the perimeter 
a parapet is built, varying in height according to 
the proximity and activity of the enemy. This 
parapet not only affords cover from random shots, 
but also makes a line for the men to form on in case 
of a sudden attack. Behind it the infantry lie down 


to sleep, a section of each company, as an inlying 
picket, dressed and accoutred. Their rifles are 
often laid along the low wall with the bayonets 
ready fixed. If cavalry have to be used in holding 
part of the defences, their lances can be arranged 
in the same way. Sentries ever\' twenty-five yaids 
surround the camp with a fine of watchers. 

To view the scene by moonhght is alone an ex- 
perience which would repay much travelling. The 
fires have sunk to red, glowing specks. The bayo- 
nets glisten in a regular line of blue-white points. 
The silence of weariness is broken by the incessant 
and uneasy shuffling of the animals and the occa- 
sional neighing of the horses. All the valley is 
plunged in gloom and the mountains rise high and 
black aroimd. Far up their sides, the twinkhng 
watch-fires of the tribesmen can be seen. Overhead 
is the starry sk}', bathed in the pale radiance of the 
moon. It is a spectacle that ma}- inspire the phi- 
losopher no less than the artist. The camp is full 
of subdued noises. Here is no place for reflection, 
for quiet or solemn thought. The da^v may have 
been an exciting one. The morrow may bring 
an action. Some may be killed, but in w^ar-time 
fife is onl}' lived in the present. It is sufficient to 
be tired and to have time to rest, and the camp, 
if ah the various items that compose it can be said 
to have a personahty, shrugs its shoulders and, re- 
garding the past \vithout regret, contemplates the 
future without alarm. 



March to Shumshuk — The First Shot — The Koh-i- 
Mohr — The Rarabat Pass — The Watelai \^alley — 
Night of the 14th of September — The Camp at 
In^yat Kila. 

AFTER considering such maps and information 
jt~\ as to the nature of the country as were avail- 
able. Sir Bindon Blood decided to enter the terri- 
tories of the Mohmands by two routes, (i) The 
3rd Brigade through the pass of Nawagai. (2) The 
2nd Brigade over the Rambat Pass. This would 
sweep the country more thoroughly, and afford in- 
creased facihties for drawing supphes. As the 3rd 
Brigade had a greater distance to cover, it passed in 
front of the 2nd, and on the 12th of September, by 
a march of twelve miles, reached Shumshuk. The 
2nd Brigade, which had hitherto been leading, moved 
by an easy stage of seven miles to Jar, and there 
camped within supporting distance. 

The Headquarters staff was now transferred to 
the 3rd Brigade and marched with them. The road 

* See map of operations in Bajaur, page 264. 


lay for the first five or six miles over the ground, 
which the cavalry had reconnoitred the day before. 
Again all were struck by the great arraj^ of castles 
on the Utman Khel side of the valley. Many eager 
spirits would have hked to stop and blow up some of 
these fine places. But the Government terms had 
been complied with and the columns moved slowly 
by, eyeing the forts, which were covered with the 
white and blue clad figures of their defenders, with 
a sour disdain. 

After riding for a couple of hours, the staff halted 
for breakfast under a shady tree by the banks of a 
clear and rapid stream. 

Two hundred yards away we observed a large 
flight of teal sitting tamely on the water. Every 
one became interested. Rifles there were in plenty ; 
but where could a gun be found ? Rigorous and 
hasty search was m.ade. The political officer of the 
force, Mr. Davis, being consulted, eventually pro- 
duced a friendly khan, who v/as the owner of a shot 
gun. After further delay this weapon was brought. 
The teal still floated unconcernedly on the water. 
A gun awakened no sense of danger. Shots in 
plenty they had heard in the valley, but they were 
not usually fired at birds. The exciting moment 
now arrived. Who should shoot ? The responsi- 
bihty was great. Many refused. At length Veter- 
inary-Captain Mann, who v/as wounded a few days 
later at Nawagai, volunteered. He took the gun 
and began a painful stalk. He crawled along 
cautiously. We watched with suppressed emotion. 
Suddenly two shots rang out. They were to be the 


first of many. The men in the marching column 
200 yards away became wide awake. The teal rose 
hurriedly and flew away, but four remained behind, 
killed or wounded. These birds we picked up with 
a satisfaction which was fully justified by their 
excellence that night at dinner. 

Another mile or so brought us to the Watelai 
River, a stream about thirty yards broad, which 
flows into the Jandul, and thence into the Panjkora. 
Crossing this and climbing the opposite bank, the 
troops debouched on to the wide level plateau of 
Khar, perhaps ten miles across and sixteen in length. 
Standing on the high ground, the great dimensions 
of the valley were displayed. Looking westward it 
was possible to see the hills behind the Panjkora, the 
sites of the formxcr camps, and the entrance of the 
subsidiary valley of the Jandul. In front, at the 
further end, an opening in the mountain range 
showed the pass of Nawagai. Towering on the left 
was the great mass of the Koh-i-mohr, or " Moun- 
tain of Peacocks " — a splendid peak, some 8000 feet 
high, the top of which is visible from both Peshawar 
and Malakand. Its name is possibly a corruption. 
Arrian calls it Mount Meros. At its base the city 
of Nysa stood in former times, and among many 
others feU before the arms of Alexander. Its in- 
habitants, in begging for peace, boasted thai they 
conducted their government " with constitutional 
order," and that " ivy, which did not grow in the 
rest of India, grev/ among them." City, ivy, and 
constitutional order have alike disappeared. The 
mountain alone remains. A little to the northward 


the Rambat Pass was distinguishable. On the 
right the smooth plain appeared to flow into the 
hill country, and a wide bay in the mountains, 
roughly circular in shape and nearly twelve miles 
across, opened out of the valley. The prominent 
spurs which ran from the hills formed many dark 
ravines and deep hollows, as it were gulfs and inlets 
of the sea. The entrance was perhaps a mile broad. 
I remember that, when I first looked into the valley, 
the black clouds of a passing storm hung gloomily 
over all, and filled it with a hazy half-light that 
contrasted with the brilliant sunshine outside. It 
was the Watelai, or as we got to call it later — the 
Mamund Valley. 

The Khan of Khar met the general on the farther 
bank of the river. He was a tall, fine-looking man 
with bright eyes, bushy black whiskers and white 
teeth, which his frequent smiles displayed. Hew^as 
richly dressed, attended by a dozen horsemen and 
mounted on a handsome, though vicious dun horse. 
He saluted Sir Bindon Blood with great respect and 
ceremony. Some conversation took place, con- 
ducted, as the khan only spoke Pushtu, through the 
political officer. The khan asserted his loyalty and 
that of his neighbour the Khan of Jar. He would, 
he said, do his utmost to secure the peaceful passage 
of the troops. Such supplies as they might need, 
he would provide, as far as his resources would go. 
He looked with some alarm at the long lines of march- 
ing men and animals. The general reassured him. 
If the forces were not interfered with or opposed, 
if the camps were not fired into at night, if stragglers 



were not cut off and cut up by his people, payment 
in cash would be made for all the grain and wood it 
was necessary to requisition. 

The khan accepted this promise with gratitude 
and relief, and henceforth during the operations 
which took place at Nawagai and in the Mamund 
Valley, he preserved a loyal and honourable be- 
haviour. To the best of his power he restrained 
his young bloods. As much as he was able, he 
used his influence to discourage the other tribes 
from joining the revolt. Every night his pickets 
watched our camps, and much good sleep was ob- 
tained by weary men in consequence. At the end 
of the fighting he was the intermediary between 
the Government and the Mamund tribesmen. And 
on one occasion he rendered a signal service, though 
one which should hardly have been entrusted to 
him, by escorting with his own retainers an ammuni- 
tion convoy to the 2nd Brigade, when troops and 
cartridges were alike few and sorely needed. Had he 
proved treacherous in this instance the consequences 
might have been most grave. Throughout, however, 
he kept his word with the general, and that in the 
face of opposition from his own people, and threats 
of vengeance from his neighbours. 

He on his part will not complain of British good 
faith. Although the fighting was continued in the 
district for nearly a month, not one of his villages 
was burnt, while all damage done to his crops was 
hberally compensated. He was guaranteed against 
reprisals, and at the end of the operations the gift 
of a considerable sum of money proved to him that 


the Sirkar could reward its friends, as well as punish 
its enemies. 

The camel transport of the 3rd Brigade lagged 
on the road, and the troops, tired after their long 
march, had to wait in the blazing sun for a couple of 
hours without shelter imtil the baggage came up. At 
length it arrived, and we proceeded to camp as far 
as is possible without tents. Shelters were impro- 
vised from blankets, from waterproof sheets sup- 
ported on sticks, or from the green boughs of some 
adjacent trees. Beneath these scanty coverings the 
soldiers lay, and waited for the evening. 

Every one has read of the sufferings of the British 
troops in having to campaign in the hot weather 
during the Indian Mutiny. September in these 
valleys is as hot as it is easy to imagine or elegant to 
describe, and the exposure to the sun tells severely 
on the British battahons, as the hospital returns 
show. Of course, since Mutiny days, many salu- 
tary changes have been made in the dress and 
equipment of the soldier. The small cap with its 
insufficient puggaree is replaced by the pith helmet, 
the shade of which is increased by a long quilted 
covering. The high stock and thick, tight uniforms 
are gone, and a cool and comfortable khaki kit 
has been substituted. A spine protector covers the 
back, and in other ways rational improvements 
have been effected. But the sun remains unchanged, 
and all precautions only minimise, without prevent- 
ing the evils. 

Slowly the hours pass away. The heat is intense. 
The air ghtters over the scorched plain, as over the 


funnel of an engine. The wind blows with a fierce 
warmth, and instead of bringing relief, raises only 
whirling dust devils, which scatter the shelters and 
half-choke their occupants. The water is tepid, 
and fails to quench the thirst. At last the shadows 
begin to lengthen, as the sun sinks towards the 
western mountains. Every one revi/es. Even 
the animals seem to share the general feeling of 
relief. The camp turns out to see the sunset and 
enjoy the twiUght. The feelings of savage hatred 
against the orb of day fade from our minds, and 
we strive to forget that he will be ready at five 
o'clock next morning to begin the torment over 

As there were still several days to spare before the 
Malakand Field Force was due to enter the Moh- 
mand country. Sir Bindon Blood ordered both 
brigades to remain halted on the 13th : the 3rd 
Brigade at Shumshuk ; the 2nd at Jar. Mean- 
while two reconnaissances were to be sent, one to 
the summit of the Rambat Pass, and the other up 
the Watelai Valley. 

The night of the 12th was the first occasion of 
" sniping," since the advance against the Mohmands 
had begun. About half a dozen shots were fired 
into camp, without other result than to disturb 
light sleepers. Still it marked a beginning. 

The reconnaissances started next morning. The 
general accompanied the one to the Rambat Pass, 
to satisfy himself as to the nature of the unexplored 
country on the other side. Two companies of 
infantry were ordered to clear the way, and two 


others remained in support half-waj^ up the pass. 
Sir Bindon Blood started at six o'clock accompanied 
by his escort, whose gay pennons combined, with 
the Union Jack of the Headquarters staff, to add a 
dash of colour to the scene. After riding for a couple 
of miles we caught up the infantry and had to halt, 
to let them get on ahead and work through the 
broken ground and scrub. A mile further it was 
necessary to dismount and proceed on foot. No 
opposition was encountered, though the attitude 
and demeanour of the natives was most unfriendly. 
The younger ones retired to the hills. The elder 
stayed to scowl at, and even curse us. The village 
cemetery was full of property of all kinds, beds, 
pitchers, and bags of grain, which the inhabitants 
had deposited there under the double delusion, that 
we wanted to plunder, and that in so sacred a spot 
it would be safe — were such our intention. In spite 
of their black looks, they were eventually all made 
to stand up and salute respectfully. 

The climb was a stiff one and took at least an 
hour. But the track was everywhere passable, or 
capable of easily being made passable for mules. 
The general, trained and hardened by years of 
shooting of all kinds in the jungles, arrived at the 
top first, followed by Brigadier-General Wodehouse, 
and a panting staff. A fine view of the Ambasar 
Valley was displayed. It was of arid aspect. Vil- 
lages in plenty could be seen, but no sign of water. 
This was serious, as information as to wells was un- 
reliable, and it was desirable to see some tanks and 
streams, before allowing a column to plunge Into the 


unknown dangers of the valley. After some con- 
sideration Sir Bindon Blood decided to modify the 
original plan and send only two battalions of the 
2nd Brigade with one squadron over the pass, while 
the rest were to march to join him at Nawagai. We 
then returned, reaching camp in time for luncheon. 

Meanwhile the reconnaissance up the Watelai or 
Mamund Valley had been of a more interesting 
nature. Two squadrons of the nth Bengal Lancers, 
under Major Beatson, and with Mr. Davis, the poU- 
tical officer, were sent to put some pressure on the 
Mamunds, to make them carry out the terms agreed 
upon. They had promised to surrender fifty rifles. 
This they now showed no intention of doing. They 
had realised, that the brigades were only marching 
through the country, and that the}^ had no time to 
stop, and they were determined to keep their arms 
as long as possible. 

As the cavalry approached the first village, about 
300 men gathered and, displaying standards, called 
on the Lancers to stop. An altercation ensued. 
They were given half an hour to remove their women 
and children. Then the squadrons advanced. The 
tribesmen, still menacing, retired slowly towards the 
hills. Then a small party came up and informed 
Major Beatson, that in the next village was a troop- 
horse, which had been captured in the fighting in 
the Swat Valley. This admission, that the Mamunds 
had been implicated in the attack on the Malakand, 
was sufficiently naive. The cavalry rode on to the 
village. The horse was not to be found, but the 
officious informers from the first village eagerly 


pointed out where it had been stabled. In conse- 
quence of this information, and to stimulate the 
tribesmen to carry out the original terms, Mr. Davis 
decided to make an example and authorised Major 
Beatson to destro}^ the house of the owner of the 
stolen property. This was accordingly done. As 
soon as the smcke began to rise, the tribesmen, who 
had waited, half a mile away, opened a dropping 
fire from ^lartini-Henr}^ rifles on the cavalry. These, 
not wishing to engage, retired at a trot. They were 
followed up, but though the fire was well directed, 
the range was too great for accurate shooting and 
the bullets whizzed harmlessly overhead. 

As the Lancers left the valley, an incident oc- 
curred which illustrates what has been said in an 
earlier chapter, and is characteristic of the daily 
hfe of the natives. The people of the first village 
had directed the attention of the cavalry to the 
second. Part of the second had been in consequence 
burnt. The inhabitants of both turned out to dis- 
cuss the matter with rifles and, when last seen that 
night, were engaged in a lively skirmish. Appar- 
ently, however, they soon forgot their differences. 

The rumour that the cavalry had been fired on 
preceded them to camp, and the prospects of some 
opposition were everywhere hailed with satisfaction. 
Many had begun to think that the Mohmand ex- 
pedition was going to be a mere parade, and that 
the tribesmen were overawed by the powerful forces 
employed. They were soon to be undeceived. I 
watched the squadrons return. Behind them the 
Mamund Valley was already dark with the shadows 


of the evening and the heavy clouds that had hung 
over it all day. They were vastly pleased with 
themselves. Nothing in Ufa is so exhilarating as to 
be shot at without result. The sowars sat their 
horses with conscious pride. Some of the younger 
officers still showed the flush of excitement on their 
cheeks. But they pretended excellently well to 
have forgotten all about the matter. They be- 
lieved a few fellows had " sniped " at them ; that 
was all. 

But it was by no means all. Whatever is the 
Afghan equivalent of the " Fiery Cross " was cir- 
culated among the tribes. There was no time for 
them to gather to attack that night, and the situa- 
tion of the camp in the open was unsuited to night 
firing. The other brigade was coming. They 
would wait. They therefore contented themselves 
with firing occasional shots, beginning while we 
were at dinner, and continuing at intervals until 
daylight. No one was hurt, but we may imagine 
that the tribesmen, who spent the night prowling 
about the nullahs, and firing from time to time, re- 
turned to their countrymen next morning boasting 
of what they had done. " Alone, while ye all slum- 
bered and slept, in the night, in the darkness, I, 
even I, have attacked the camp of the accursed ones 
and have slain a Sahib. Is it not so, my brothers ? " 
Wliereupon the brothers, hoping he would some day 
corroborate a he for them, replied, that it was un- 
doubtedly so, and that he had deserved weU of the 
tribe. Such is the reward of the " sniper." 

Early next morning the 3rd Brigade and tliree 


squadrons of the nth Bengal Lancers moved on to 
Nawagai and crossed the pass without opposition. 
The general and Headquarters staff accompanied 
them, and we found ourselves in a wide and exten- 
sive valley, on the far side of which the Bedmanai 
Pass could be plainly seen. Here, at last, we got 
definite information of the IMohmands' intentiohs. 
The Hadda Mullah with 1000 tribesmen had 
gathered to oppose the further advance. After all 
there would be a fight. In the evening Sir Bindon 
Blood, taking a squadron of cavalry, rode out to re- 
connoitre the approaches to the pass and the general 
configuration of the ground. On his return he sent 
a despatch to the Government of India, that he 
would force it on the i8th. The soldiers, especially 
the British troops, who had not yet been engaged, 
eagerly looked forward to the approaching action. 
But events were destined to a different course. 

It w£LS already dusk when we returned from the 
reconnaissance. The evening was pleasant and we 
dined in the open air. Still the valley was very dark. 
The mountains showed a velvet black. Presently 
the moon rose. I repress the inclination to try to 
describe the beauty of the scene, as the valley was 
swiftly flooded with that mysterious light. All the 
suitable words have probably been employed many 
times by numerous writers and skipped by countless 
readers. Indeed I am inchned to think, that these 
elaborate descriptions convey Uttle to those who 
have not seen, and are unnecessary to those who 
have. Nature will not be admired by proxy. 
In times of war, hov/ever, especially of frontier war, 


the importance of the moon is brought home to 
everybody. " What time does it rise to-night ? " is 
the question that recurs ; for other things — attacks, 
"sniping," rushes, — besides the tides are influenced 
by its movements. 

Meanwhile, as at Nawagai, at a peaceful camp 
and a quiet dinner we watched the " silvery maiden " 
swiftly appear over the eastern mountains. She 
was gazing on a different scene eleven miles away, 
in the valley we had left. 

The 2nd Brigade had marched that morning 
from Jar to the foot of the Rambat Pass, which it 
was intended to cross the next day, Brigadier- 
General Jeffreys, in anticipation of this movement, 
sent the Buffs up to hold the Kotal, and camped at 
the foot with the rest of his force. The situation 
of the camp, which had been adopted with a view 
to the advance at daybreak, favoured the approach 
of an enemy. The ground was broken and inter- 
sected by numerous small and tortuous nullahs, and 
strewn with rocks. Any other site would, however, 
have necessitated a long march the next day, and 
no attack was thought likely. 

At 8.15, as the officers were finishing dinner, 
three shots rang out in the silence. They were a 
signal. Instantly brisk firing broke out from the 
nullahs on the face of the square occupied by the 
Guides Infantry. Bullets whistled all about the 
camp, ripping through the tents and killing and 
wounding the animals. 

The Guides returned the fire with steadiness, 
and, as the shelter trench they had dug in front of 


their section of the Hne was higher than at other 
parts, no officers or men were hit. At ten o'clock 
a bugler among the enemy sounded the " Retire/' 
and the fire dwindled to a few dropping shots. 
All were congratulating themiselves on a termina- 
tion of the event, when at 10.30 the attack was 
renewed with vigour on the opposite side of the 
camp, occupied by the 38th Dogras. The enemy, 
who were largely armed with Martini-Henry rifles, 
crept up to \vithin 100 yards of the trenches. 
These were only about eighteen inches high, but 
afforded sufficient cover to the soldiers. The 
officers, with a splendid disregard of the danger, 
exposed themselves freel}^ Walking coolly up 
and dowTi in the brilliant moonlight they were 
excellent targets. The brigadier proceeded him- 
self to the threatened side of the camp, to con- 
trol the firing and prevent the waste of ammunition. 
A good many thousand rounds were, however, fired 
away without much result. Several star shells 
were also fired by the battery. The ground was 
so broken that they revealed very little, but the 
tribesmen were alarmed by the smell they made, 
thinking it a poisonous gas. The officers were 
directed to take cover, but the necessity of sending 
messages and regulating the fire involved a great 
deal of exposure. And to aU who showed above 
the trench the danger was great. Captain Tomkins 
of the 38th Dogras was shot through the heart, and 
a few minutes later the adjutant of the regiment. 
Lieutenant Bailey, was also killed. * In assisting to 
take these officers to the hospital, where a rough 


shelter of boxes had been improvised. Lieutenant 
Harington, an officer attached to the Dogras, re- 
ceived a bullet in the back of the head, which pene- 
trated his brain and inflicted injuries from which 
he died subsequently. All tents v/ere struck and 
as much cover as could be made from grain -bags 
and biscuit-boxes was arranged. At 2.15 the firing 
ceased and the enemy drew off, taking their killed 
and wounded with them. They had no mind to 
be surprised by daylight, away from tlxeir hills. But 
they had already remained a little too long. 

As soon as the light allowed, the cavalrj^ squadron 
under Captain Cole started in pursuit. After a long 
gallop dowTi the valley, he caught one party making 
for the mountains. Charging immediately, he suc- 
ceeded in spearing twenty-one of these before they 
could reach the rocks. The squadron then dis- 
mounted and opened fire \\ith their carbines. 
But the tribesmen turned at once and made a 
dash in the direction of the led horses. A sowar 
was wounded and a couple of horses killed. The 
cavalrymen, threatened in a vital point, ran hurriedly 
back, and just got into their saddles in time. In 
the haste of mounting four horses got loose and 
galloped away, leaving six dismounted men. Cap- 
tain Cole placed one of them before him on the 
saddle, and the troopers followed his example. 
The squadron thus encumbered, retired, and after 
getting out of range, succeeded in catching their 
loose horses again. The enemy, seeing the cavalry- 
mounted once more, took refuge on the hills. But 
it was evident, the}' were eager for lighting. 


The casualties in the night attack of Markhanai 
were as follows : — 

British Officers. 
Killed— Capt. W. E. Tomkins, 38th Dogras. 

„ Lieut. A. W. Bailey, 38th Dogras. 
Died of wounds — Lieut. H. A. Harington, attd. 38th Dogras. 

Native Officer. 
Wounded i 

Native Soldiers. 

Killed. Wounded. 

No. 8 Mountain Batterj' i i 

35th Sikhs I 3 

38th Dogras i 

Guides Infantry . . i 

Followers 2 2 

Total Casualties, 16 ; and 98 horses and mules. 

Meanwhile, the 3rd Brigade had passed a tran- 
quil night at Nawagai. Next morning, however, 
at about six o'clock, a message was heliographed 
from the Buffs on the Rambat Pass, to the effect 
that an attack had been made on General Jeffreys* 
camp ; that heavy firing had continued all night, and 
that several officers were among the casualties. 
This news set every one agog. While we were 
breakfasting, a native officer and ten sowars of the 
nth Bengal Lancers arrived at speed with full 
details : six hours' fighting with the Mamunds : 
three officers killed or mortally wounded ; and 
nearly a hundred animals hit. In consequence of 
this information, Sir Bindon Blood cancelled the 
orders for the passage of the Rambat Pass and in- 
structed General Jeffreys to enter the Mamund 
Valley and thoroughly chastise the tribesmen. 


I was allowed to go back with the native officer's 
escort to the 2nd Brigade, in order to witness the 
operations which had been ordered. Judiciously 
selecting a few things, which could be carried on the 
saddle, of which the most important were a cloak, 
some chocolate and a tooth-brush, .1 hurried after 
the escort, who had already started, and overtook 
them just as they had got through the pass of 

For the first six miles the road lay through a 
" network of deep ravines," * through which the 
troopers picked their way very carefully. It would 
gave been a bad place for a small party to have 
been attacked in, but fortunately, though several 
armed tribesmen were seen, they did not fire at us. 
At one point the route lay through a deep nullah, 
along which some of the assailants of the night 
before had retired. These were probably from the 
Charmanga VaUey. They had evidently suffered 
losses. Several native beds on which wounded men 
had been carried lay scattered about. At this 
place they had probably found some oxen, to 
which they had transferred their bodies. At length 
we got clear of the difficult ground, and entering 
the smooth plain of Nawagai looked out eagerly 
for the brigade. Seven miles away across the 
valley was a long brown streak. It was the troops 
marching from Markhanai to the entrance of the 
Mamund Valley. The sm.oke of five burning 
villages rose in a tall column into the air — blue 
against the mountains, brown against the sky. An 
* Despatches. 


hour's riding brought us to the brigade. Every 
one was full of the events of the night, and all 
looked worn from having had no sleep. " You 
were very lucky to be out of it," they said. " There's 
plenty more coming." 

The cavalry soon returned from their pursuit. The 
points of their lances were covered with dark smears. 
A sowar displayed his weapon proudly to some 
Sikhs, who grinned in appreciation. " How many ? " 
was the question asked on all sides. " Twenty-one," 
replied the officer. " But they're full of hght." 

Orders were now issued for the brigade to camp 
on the open ground near Inayat Kila, which, 
translated, means Fort Grant, and is the name of 
a considerable stone stronghold belonging to the 
Khan of Khar. Although the troops were very 
tired from their march, and the fighting of the 
preceding night, they began entrenching with 
alacrity. Besides making an outer wall to the 
camp, about three and a half feet high, everybody 
scratched a little hole for himself. In these occupa- 
tions the afternoon passed. 

The Buffs came in at sunset, having marched 
from the top of the Rambat Pass. They had heard 
the firing of the night and were disappointed at 
having been absent. It was " just their luck," they 
said. During the Chitral campaign.of 1895, they had 
had the ill-fortune to miss every engagement. It 
would be the same now. All tried to reassure them. 
As soon as it was dark an attack was probable. 

A dropping fire began after dinner from the great 
nullah to the north of the camp, and all lights were 


put out and the tents struck. Every one retired to 
the soup-plate he had scooped in the earth. Bui 
no attack was made. The enemy had informed the 
poHtical officer through the friendlies, that they 
were weary and would rest that night. They sent 
a few " snipers " to fire into the camp, and these 
kept up a desultory fusillade until about two o'clock, 
when they drew off. 

Those who had been deprived of their rest the 
night before soon dropped off to sleep, in spite of 
the firing. Others, not overpowered by v/eariness, 
found no occupation but to he in their holes and 
contemplate the stars — those impartial stars which 
shine as calmly on Piccadilly Circus as on Inayat 



Sound as of bugle in camp, how it rings through the chill air of 

Bidding the soldier arise, he must wake and be armed ere the 

Firm be your faith and your feet, when the sun's burning rays shall 

be o'er you. 
When the riiles are ranging in Hne, and the clear note of battle is 


" A Sermon in Lower Bengal," Sir A. Lyall. 

The Cavalry Skirmish — The Advance on Shalii-Tangi 
— The Counter Attack — Retirement Down the 
Spur — Repulse of the Enemy — Second Attack 
and Capture of Shahi-Tangi — Darkness — The 
Guides to the Rescue — The Rear-guard — The 

THE story has now reached a point which I 
cannot help regarding as its climax. The action 
of the Mamund Valley is recalled to me by so many 
vivid incidents and enduring memories, that it 
assumes an importance which is perhaps beyond its 
true historic proportions. Throughout the reader 
must make allov/ances for what I have called the 
personal perspective. Throughout he must remem- 

* See Map of the Mamund Valley, page 221. 


ber, how small is the scale of operations. The 
panorama is not filled with masses of troops. He 
will not hear the thunder of a hundred guns. No 
cavalry brigades whirl by with flashing swords. 
No infantry divisions are applied at critical points. 
The looker-on will see only the hillside, and may, 
if he watches with care, distinguish a few brown 
clad men moving slowly about it, dwarfed almost to 
invisibility by the size of the landscape. I hope to 
take him close enough, to see what these men are 
doing and suffering ; what their conduct is and 
what their fortunes are. But I would ask him to 
observe that, in what is written, I rigidly adhere to 
my role of a spectator. If by any phrase or sentence 
I am found to depart from this, I shall submit to 
whatever evil things the ingenuity of malice may 

On the morning of the i6th, in pursuance of Sir 
Bindon Blood's orders, Brigadier-General Jeffreys 
moved out of his entrenched camp at Inayat Kila, 
and entered the Mamund Valley. His intentions 
were, to chastise the tribesmen by burning and 
blowing up all defensible villages within reach 
of the troops. It was hoped, that this might be 
accompUshed in a single day, and that the brigade, 
having asserted its strength, would be able to march 
on the 17th to Nawagai and take part in the attack 
on the Bedmanai Pass, which had been fixed for 
the i8th. Events proved this hope to be vain, but 
it must be remembered, that up to this time no 
serious opposition had been offered by the tribes- 
men to the columns, and that no news of any 


gathering had been reported to the general. The 
valley appeared deserted. The villages looked in- 
significant and defenceless. It was everywhere 
asserted that the enemy would not stand. 

Reveille sounded at half-past five, and at six 
o'clock the brigade marched out. In order to 
deal with the whole valley at once, the force was 
divided into three columns, to which were assigned 
the following tasks : — 

I. The right column, under Lieut. -Col. Vivian, consisting of 
the 38th Dogras and some sappers, was ordered to attack the 
village of Domodoloh. 

II. The centre column, imder Colonel Goldney, consisting of 
six companies Buffs, six companies 35th Sikhs, a half-company 
sappers, four gims of No. 8 Mountain Battery amd the squadron 
of the nth Bengal Lancers, was ordered to proceed to the head of 
the valley, and destroy the villages of Badelai and Shahi-Tangi 
(pronoimced Shytungy), 

III. The left column, under Major Campbell, consisting of 
five companies of the Guides Infantry, and some sappers, was 
directed against several villages at the western end of the vaUey. 

Two guns and two companies from each battalion 
were left to protect the camp, and a third company 
of the Guides was detached to protect the survey 
party. This reduced the strength of the infantry 
in the field to twenty-three companies, or slightly 
over 1200 men. Deducting the 300 men of the 38th 
Dogras who were not engaged, the total force em- 
ployed in the action was about 1000 men of aU arms. 

It wiU be convenient to deal with the fortunes 
of the right column first. Lieut. -Colonel A'ivian, 
after a march of six miles, arrived before the 
village of Domodoloh at about 9 a.m. He found 


it strongly held by the enemy, whose aspect was 
so formidable, that he did not consider himself 
strong enough to attack without artillery and 
supports, and with prudence returned to camp, 
which he reached about 4 p.m. Two men were 
wounded by long-range fire. 

The centre column advanced covered by Captain 
Cole's squadron of Lancers, to which I attached 
myself. At about seven o'clock we observed the 
enemy on a conical hill on the northern slopes of 
the valley. Through the telescope, an instrument 
often far more useful to cavalry than field-glasses, 
it was possible to distinguish their figures. Long 
lines of men clad in blue or white, each with his 
weapon upright beside him, were squatting on the 
terraces. Information was immediately sent back 
to Colonel Goldney. The infantry, eager for 
action, hurried their march. The cavalry ad- 
vanced to within 1000 yards of the hills. For some 
time the tribesmen sat and watched the gradual 
deployment of the troops, which was developing 
in the plain below them. Then, as the guns and 
infantry approached, they turned and began Slowly 
to climb the face of the mountain. 

In hopes of delaying them or inducing them to 
fight, the cavalry now trotted to within closer range, 
and dismounting, opened fire at 7.30 precisely. It 
was immediately returned. From high up the hill- 
side, from the cornfields at the base, and from the 
towers of the villages, little puffs of smoke darted. 
The skirmish continued for an hour ^^ithout much 
damage to either side, as the enemy were well 


covered by the broken ground and the soldiers by 
the gravestones and trees of a cemetery. Then 
the infantry began to arrive. The Buffs had been 
detached from Colonel Goldney's column and were 
moving against the village of Badelai. The 35th 
Sikhs proceeded towards the long ridge, round 
the corner of which Shahi-Tangi stands. As they 
crossed our front slov/ly — and rather wearily, for 
they were fatigued by the rapid m.arching — the 
cavalry mounted and rode off in quest of more 
congenial work with the cavalryman's weapon — 
the lance. I followed the fortunes of the Sikhs, 
Very little opposition was encountered. A few 
daring sharpshooters fired at the leading com- 
panies from the high corn. Others fired long- 
range shots from the mountains. Neither caused 
any loss. Colonel Goldney now ordered one and 
a half companies, under Captain Ryder, to clear 
the conical hill, and protect the right of the regi- 
ment from the fire — from the mountains. These 
men, about seventy-five in number, began climbing 
the steep slope ; nor did I see them again till 
much later in the day. The remaining four and 
a half companies continued to advance. The line 
lay through high crops on terraces, rising one 
above the other. The troops toiled up these, 
clearing the enemy out of a few towers they tried 
to hold. Half a company was left Mth the dress- 
ing station near the cemeter3% and two more were 
posted as supports at the bottom of the hills. The 
other two commenced the ascent of the long spur 
which leads to Shahi-Tangi. 


It is impossible to realise without seeing, how 
very slowly troops move on hillsides. It was eleven 
o'clock before the village was reached. The enemy 
feU back " sniping," and doing hardly any damage. 
Everybody condemned their pusillanimity in making 
off without a fight. Part of the village and some 
stacks of hhoosa, a kind of chopped straw, were 
set on fire, and the two companies prepared to 
return to camp. 

But at about eight the cavalry patrols had re- 
ported the enemy in great strength at the north- 
west end of the valley. In consequence of this 
Brigadier-General Jeffreys ordered the Guides In- 
fantry to join the miain column.* Major Campbell 
at once collected his men, who were engaged in 
foraging, and hurried tov/ards Colonel Goldney's 
force. After a march of five miles, he came in 
contact \\dth the enemy in strength on his left 
front, and fi.ring at once became heavy. At the 
sound of the musketry the Buffs were recalled from 
the village of Badelai and also marched to support 
the 35th Sikhs. 

While both these regiments were hurrying to the 
scene, the sound of loud firing first made us realise 
that our position at the head of the spur near Shahi- 
Tangi was one of increasing danger. The pressure 
on the left threatened the line of retreat, and no sup- 
ports were available within a mile. A retirement 

* Copy of message showing the time : — 

" To Ofiftcer, Commanding Guides Infantry. — Despatched 8.15 
A.M. Received 8.57 a.m. Enemy collecting at Kanra ; come up 
at once on Colonel Goldney's left. 

" C. PoweU, Major, D.A.Q.M.G." 


was at once ordered. Up to this moment hardly 
any of the tribesmen had been seen. It appeared 
as if the retirement of the two companies was the 
signal for their attack. I am inclined to think, how- 
ever, that this was part of the general advance of 
the enemy, and that even had no retirement been 
ordered the advanced companies would have been 
assailed. In any case the aspect of affairs immediately 
changed. From far up the hillsides men came 
running swiftly down, dropping from ledge to ledge, 
and dodging from rock to rock. The firing in- 
creased on every hand. Half a company was left 
to cover the withdrawal. The Sikhs made excellent 
practice on the advancing enemy, who approached 
by twos and threes, making little rushes from one 
patch of cover to another. At length a consider- 
able number had accumulated behind some rocks 
about a hundred yards away. The firing now 
became heavy and the half-company, finding its 
flank threatened, fell back to the next position. 

A digression is necessary to explain the peculiar 
configuration of the ground. 

The spur, at the top of which the village stands, 
consists of three rocky knolls, each one higher than 
the other, as the main hill is approached. These 
are connected by open necks of ground, which are 
commanded by fire from both flanks. In section 
the ground resembles a switchback railway. 

The first of these knolls was evacuated without 
loss, and the open space to the next quickly tra- 
versed. I think a couple of men fell here, and were 
safely carried away. The second knoll was com- 


manded by the first, on to which the enemy dimbed, 
and from which they began firing. Again the 
companies retired. Lieutenant Cassells remained 
behind with about eight men, to hold the knoll 
until the rest had crossed the open space. As soon 
as they were clear they shouted to him to retire. 
He gave the order. 

Till this time the skirmishing of the morning 
might have afforded pleasure to the neuropath, 
experience to the soldier, " copy " to the journalist. 
Now suddenly black tragedy burst upon the scene, 
and all excitement died out amid a multitude of 
vivid trifles. As Lieutenant Cassells rose to leave 
the knoll, he turned sharply and fell on the ground. 
Two Sepoys immediately caught hold of him. 
One fell shot through the leg. A soldier who had 
continued firing sprang into the air, and, falling, 
began to bleed wdth strange and terrible rapidity 
from his mouth and chest. Another turned on 
his back kicking and twisting. A fourth lay quite 
still. Thus in the time it takes to write half the 
little party were killed or wounded. The enemy 
had worked round both flanks and had also the 
command. Their fire was accurate. 

Two officers, the subadar major, by name Mangol 
Singh, and three or four Sepoys ran forward from 
the second knoll, to help in carrying the wounded 
off. Before they reached the spot, two more men 
were hit. The subadar major seized Lieutenant 
Cassells, who was covered with blood and unable to 
stand, but anxious to remain in the firing line. The 
others caught hold of the injured and began dragging 


them roughly over the sharp rocks in spite of their 
screams and groans. Before we had gone thirty 
yards from the knoll, the enemy rushed on to it, 
and began firing. Lieutenant Hughes, the adjutant 
of the regiment, and one of the most popular officers 
on the frontier, was killed. The bullets passed in 
the air with a curious sucking noise, like that pro- 
duced by drawing the air between the lips. Several 
men also fell. Lieut. -Colonel Bradshaw ordered two 
Sepoys to carry the officer's body away. This 
they began to do. Suddenly a scattered crowd of 
tribesmen rushed over the crest of the hill and charged 
sword in hand, hurling great stones. It became im- 
possible to remain an imipassive spectator. Several 
of the wounded were dropped. The subadar ma.jor 
stuck to Lieutenant Cassells, and it is to him the 
lieutenant ov/es his life. The men earning the 
other officer, dropped him and fied. The body 
sprawled upon the ground. A tall man in dirty 
white linen pounced down upon it with a curved 
sword. It v/as a horrible sight. 

Had the swordsmen charged hom.e, they would 
have cut everybody do\\Ti. But they did not. 
These wild men of the mountains were afraid of 
closing. The retirement continued. Five or six 
times the two companies, now concentrated, en- 
deavoured to stand. Each time the tribesmxcn 
pressed round both flanks. They had the whole 
advantage of ground, and commanded, as well as 
out-flanked the Sikhs. At length the bottom of the 
spur was reached, and the remainder of the two 
companies turned to bay in the nullah with fixed 


bayonets. The tribesmen came on impetuously, 
but stopped thirty yards away, howhng, firing and 
waving their swords. 

No other troops were in sight, except our cavaky, 
who could be seen retiring in loose squadron column 
— probably after their charge. They could give no 
assistance. The Buffs were nearly a mile away. 
Things looked grave. Colonel Goldney himself 
tried to re-form the men. The Sikhs, who now 
numbered perhaps sixty, were hard pressed, and 
fired without effect. Then some one — who it was 
is uncertain — ordered the bugler to sound the 
" charge." The shrill notes rang out not once but 
a dozen times. Every one began to shout. The 
officers waved their swords frantically. Then the 
Sikhs commenced to move slowly forward towards 
the enemy, cheering. It was a supreme moment. 
The tribesmen turned, and began to retreat. In- 
stantly the soldiers opened a steady fire, shooting 
down their late persecutors with savage energy. 

Then for the first time, I perceived that the 
repulse was general along the whole front. What 
I have described was only an incident. But the 
reader may learn from the account the explanation 
of many of our losses in the frontier war. The 
troops, brave and well-armed, but encumbered with 
wounded, exhausted by cHmbing and overpowered 
by superior force, had been ordered to retire. 
This is an operation too difficult for a weak force 
to accomplish. Unless supports are at hand, they 
must be punished severely, and the small covering 
parties, who remain to check the enemy, will very 


often be cut to pieces, or shot down. Afterwards 
in the Mamund Valley whole battalions were em- 
ployed to do what these two Sikh companies had 
attempted. But Sikhs need no one to bear witness 
to their courage. 

During the retirement down the spur, I was un- 
able to observe the general aspect of the action, 
and now in describing it, I have dealt only with the 
misadventures of one insignificant imit. It is due 
to the personal perspective. While the two ad- 
vanced companies were being driven down the hill, 
a general attack was made along the whole left front 
of the brigade, by at least 2000 tribesmen, most of 
whom were armed with rifles. To resist this attack 
there were the cavalry, the two supporting com- 
panies of the 35th Sikhs and five of the Guides 
Infantry, who were arriving. AU became engaged. 
Displa3dng their standards, the enemy advanced 
with great courage in the face of a heavy fire. 
Many were killed and wounded, but they continued 
to advance, in a long skirmish line, on the troops. 
One company of the 35th became seriously involved. 
Seeing this. Captain Cole moved his squadron for- 
ward, and though the ground wats broken, charged. 
The enemy took refuge in the nullah, tumbHng into 
it standards and all, and opened a sharp fire on the 
cavalry at close range, hitting several horses and 
men. The squadron feU back. But the moral 
effect of their advance had been tremendous. The 
whole attack came to a standstill. The infantry fire 
continued. Then the tribesmen began to retire, and 
they were finally repulsed at about twelve o'clock. 


An opportunity was now presented of breaking 
off the action. The brigade had started from camp 
divided, and in expectation that no serious resist- 
ance would be offered. It had advanced incau- 
tiously. The leading troops bad been rouglily 
handled. The enemy had delivered a vigorous 
counter attack. That attack had been repulsed 
with slaughter, and the brigade v/as concentrated. 
Considering the fatigues to which the infantry had 
been exposed, it would perhaps have been more 
prudent to return to camp and begin again next 
morning. But Brigadier-General Jeffreys was de- 
termined to complete the destruction of Shahi- 
Tangi, and to recover the body of Lieutenant 
Hughes, which remained in the hands of the enemy. 
It was a bold course. But it wats approved by 
every officer in the force. 

A second attack was ordered. The Guides were 
to hold the enemy in check on the left. The Buffs, 
supported by the 35th Sikhs, were to take the village. 
Orders were signalled back to camp" for all the 
available troops to reinforce the column in the 
field, and six fresh companies consequently started. 
At one o'clock the advance recommenced, the guns 
came into action on a ridge on the right of the 
brigade, and shelled the village continuously. 

Again the enemy fell back " sniping," and very 
few of them were to be seen. But to climb the hill 
alone took two hours. The village was occupied 
at three o'clock, and completely destroyed by the 
Buffs. At 3.30, orders reached them to return to 
camp, and the second withdrawal began. Again 

of tha 


''''^■Z -^showing the acUan of Sept 16'-^ 
bsequent operations of 2"''&^- 1"''' F.F 
^^ Time about 1 P.M. 

■^^■"mE SECOira ATTACK. 

I t 

"t^ Vu- -Bneiry. 


the enemy pressed with vigour, but this time there 
were ten companies on the spur instead of two, and 
the Buffs, who became rear-guard, held everjrthing 
at a distance ^^ith their Lee-Metford rifles. At a 
quarter to five the troops were clear of the hills and 
we looked about us. 

While this second attack was being carried out, 
the afternoon had sUpped away. At about two 
o'clock Major Campbell and Captain Cole, both 
officers of great experience on the frontier, had 
realised the fact, that the debate with the tribes- 
men could not be carried to a conclusion that day. 
At their suggestion a message was heliographed up 
to the General's staff officer on the spur near the 
guns, as folio v/s : " It is now 2.30. Remember we 
shall have to fight our way home." But the brigadier 
had already foreseen this possibility, and had, as 
described, issued orders for the return march. 
These orders did not reach Captain Ryder's com- 
pany on the extreme right until they had become 
hard pressed by the increasing attack of the enemy. 
Their wounded dela\'ed their retirement. They 
had pushed far up the mountain side, apparently 
•with the idea they were to crown the heights, and 
we now saw them two miles away on the sky line 
hotly engaged. 

While I was taking advantage of a temporary 
halt, to feed and water my pony. Lieutenant 
MacNaghten of the i6th Lancers pointed them 
out to me, and we watched them through our 
glasses. It was a strange sight. Little figures 
running about confusedly, tiny puffs of smoke, a 


miniature officer silhouetted against the sky waving 
his sword. It seemed impossible to believe that 
they were fighting for their lives, or indeed in any 
danger. It all looked so small and unreal. They 
were, however, hard pressed, and had signalled that 
they were running out of cartridges. It was then 
five o'clock, and the approach of darkness was 
accelerated by the heavy thunderclouds which were 
gathering over the northern mountains. 

At about 3.30 the brigadier had ordered the 
Guides to proceed to Ryder's assistance and en- 
deavour to extricate his company. He directed 
Major Campbell to use his own discretion. It was 
a difficult problem, but the Guides and their leader 
were equal to it. They had begun the day on the 
extreme left. They had hurried to the centre. 
Now they were ordered to the extreme right. Tney 
had already marched sixteen miles, but they were 
still fresh. We watched them defiling across the 
front, with admiration. Meanwhile, the retirement 
of the brigade was delayed. It v^^as necessary that 
all units should support each other, and the troops 
had to wait till the Guides had succeeded in extri- 
cating Ryder. The enemy now came on in great 
strength from the north-western end of the valley, 
which had been swarming with them aU day, so 
that for the first time the action presented a fine 

Across the broad plain the whole of the brigade 
was in echelon. On the extreme right Ryder's 
company and the Guides Infantry v/ere both 
severely engaged. Half a mile away to the left rear 


the battery, the sappers and two companies of the 
35th Sikhs were slowly retiring. Still ^ farther to 
the left were the remainder of the 35th, and, at an 
interval of half a mile, the Buffs. The cavalry 
protected the extreme left fiank. This long line of 
troops, who were visible to each other but divided 
by the deep broad nullahs which intersected the 
whole plain, fell back slowty, halting frequently to 
keep touch. Seven hundred 3'ard3 away were the 
enemy, coming on in a gi'eat half-moon nearly 
three miles long and firing continually. Their fire 
was effective, and among other casualties at this 
time Lieutenant Crawford, R.A., was killed. Their 
figures showed in rov/s of Httle white dots. The 
darkness fell swiftly. The smoke puffs became 
fire flashes. Great black clouds overspread the 
valley and thunder began to roll. The dayHght 
died away. The picture became obscured, and 
presently it was pitch dark. All communication, 
all mutual support, all general control now ceased. 
Each body of troops closed up and mad^the best of 
their way to the camp, which was about seven miles 
off. A severe thunderstorm broke overhead. The 
\dvid hghtning displa^/ed the marching columns 
and enabled the enemy to aim. Individual tribes- 
men ran up, shouting insults, to within fifty yards 
of the Buffs and discharged their rifles. They were 
answered wdth such taunts as the limited Pushtu of 
the British soldier allows and careful volleys. The 
troops displayed the greatest steadiness. The men 
were determined, the officers cheery, the shooting 
accurate. At half-past eight the enem}^ ceased to 



worry us. We thought we had driven them ofi, 
but they had found a better quarry. 

The IcLst two miles to camp were painful. After 
the cessation of the firing the fatigue of the soldiers 
asserted itself. The Buffs had been marching and 
fighting continuously for thirteen hours. They had 
had no food, except their early morning biscuit, 
since the preceding night. The older and more 
seasoned amongst them laughed at their troubles, 
declaring they would have breakfast, dinner and tea 
together when they got home. The younger ones 
collapsed in all directions. 

The officers carried their rifles. Such ponies and 
mules as were available were laden with exhausted 
soldiers. Nor was this all. Other troops had 
passed before us, and more than a dozen Sepoys 
of different regiments were lying senseless by the 
roadside. All these were eventually carried in 
by the rear-guard, and the Buffs reached camp at 
nine o'clock. 

Meanwhile, the Guides had performed a brilliant 
feat of arms, and had rescued the remnants of the 
isolated company from the clutches of the enemy. 
After a hurried march they arrived at the foot of 
the hill down which Ryder's men were retiring. 
The Sikhs, utterly exhausted by the exertions of the 
day, were in disorder, and in many cases unable 
from extreme fatigue even to use their weapons. 
The tribesmen hung in a crowd on the flanks and 
rear of the struggling company, firing incessantly 
and even dashing in and cutting down individual 
soldiers. Both officers were woimded. Lieutenant 


Gunning staggered down the hill unaided, struck in 
three places by bullets and with two deep sword cuts 
besides. Weary, outnumbered, surrounded on three 
sides, without unwounded officers or cartridges, the 
end was only a matter of moments. All must have 
been cut to pieces. But help was now at hand. 

The Guides formed hne, fixed bayonets and 
advanced at the double towards the hill. At a 
short distance from its foot they halted and opened 
a terrible and crushing fire upon the exulting enemy. 
The loud detonations of their company volleys 
were heard and the smoke seen all over the field, 
and on the left we wondered what was happening. 
The tribesmen, sharply checked, wavered. The 
company continued its retreat. Many brave deeds 
were done as the night closed in. Havildar Ali Gul, 
of the Afridi Company of the Guides, seized a 
canvas cartridge carrier, a sort of loose jacket with 
large pockets, filled it with ammunition from his 
men's pouches, and rushing across the fire-swept 
space, which separated the regiment from the Sikhs, 
distributed the precious packets to the struggHng 
men. Returning he carried a wounded native officer 
on his back. Seeing this several Afridis in the Guides 
ran forward, shouting and cheering, to the rescue, 
and other wounded Sikhs were saved by their 
gallantry from a fearful fate. At last Ryder's 
company reached the bottom of the hill and the 
survivors re-formed under cover of the Guides. 

These, thrown on their own resources, separated 
from the rest of the brigade by darkness and dis- 
tance and assailed on three sides by the enemy. 


calml}/ proceeded to fight their way back to camp. 
Though encumbered with many wounded and amid 
broken ground, they repulsed every attack, and bore 
down all the efforts which the tribesmen made to 
intercept their line of retreat. They reached camp 
at 9.30 in safety, and not ^vithout honour. The 
skill and experience of their ofiicers, the endurance 
and spirit of the men, had enabled them to accom- 
pUsh a task which many had believed impossible, 
and their conduct in the action of the ]\Iamund Valley 
fills a briUiant page in the history of the finest and 
most famous frontier regiment.* 

As the Buffs reached the camp the rain which 
had hitherto held off cam.e down. It poured. The 
darkness was intense. The camip became a sea of 
mud. In expectation that the enemy would attack 
it. General Jeffrej^s had signalled in an order to 
reduce the perimeter. The camp was therefore 
closed up to half its original size. 

Most of the tents had been struck and lay with 
the baggage piled in confused heaps on the ground. 
Many of the transport animals were loose and 
wandering about the crowded space. Dinner or 
shelter there was none. The soldiers, thoroughly 
exhausted, lay down supperless in the slush. The 
condition of the v/ounded was particularly painful. 
-Among the tents which had been struck were several 

* The gallantry of the two officers, Captain Hodson and Lieut. 
Codrington, who commanded the two most exposed companies, 
was the subject of a special mention in despatches, and the whole 
regiment were afterwards comphmented by Brigadier-General 
j efireys on their fine performance. 


of the field hospitals. In the darkness and rain 
it was impossible to do more for the poor fellows 
than to improve the preliminar}^ dressings and give 
morphia injections, nor Vv'as it till four o'clock on 
the next afternoon that the last were taken out of 
the doohes. 

After about an hour the rain stopped, and while 
the officers were bustling about making their men 
get some food before they went to sleep, it was 
realised that all the troops were not in camp. The 
general, the battery, the sappers and four companies 
of infantry were still in the valle}^ Presently we 
heard the firing of guns. They were being attacked, 
— overwhelm.ed perhaps. To send them assistance 
was to risk more troops being cut off. The Buffs 
who were dead beat, the Sikhs who had suffered 
most severe losses, and the Guides who had been 
marching and fighting all day, were not to be 
thought of. The 38th Dogras were, however, toler- 
ably fresh, and Colonel Goldney, who commanded 
in the absence of the General, at once ordered four 
companies to parade and march to the reUef. Cap- 
tain Cole volunteered to accompany them v/ith a 
dozen sowars. The horses were saddled. But the 
order was countermanded, and no troops left the 
camp that night. 

Whether this decision was justified or not the 
reader shall decide. In the darkness and the broken 
ground it was probable the relief would never have 
found the general. It was possible that getting 
involved among the nullahs they would have been 
destroyed. The defenders of the camp itself were 


none too many. The numbers of the enemy were 
unknown. These were v/eighty reasons. On the 
other hand it seemed unsoldierly to lie down to 
sleep while at intervals the booming of the guns 
reminded us, that comrades were fighting for their 
lives a few miles away in the valley. 



" Two thousand pounds of education 
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail. 

Strike hard who cares. Shoot straight who can. 
The odds are on the cheaper man." 

RuDYARD Kipling. 

The Relief of Bilot— The Stor^- of the Night— Rest and 
Recuperation — Domodoloh — Zagai — Negotiatioiis 
for Peace — The Situation. 

HALF an hour before dawTi on the 17th, the 
cavab-\7 were mounted, and as soon as the 
Ught was strong enough to find a way through the 
broken ground, the squadron started in search of 
the missing troops. We had heard no more of their 
guns since about two o'clock. We therefore con- 
cluded they had beaten off the enemy. There 
might, of course, be another reason for their silence. 
As we drew near Bilot, it was possible to distinguish 
the figures of men mo\dng about the walls and 
houses. The advanced files rode cautiously forward. 
Suddenly they cantered up to the waU and we knew 
some at least were ahve. Captain Cole, turning to 


his squadron, lifted liis hand. The, actuated 
by a common impulse, rose in their stirrups and 
began to cheer. But there was no response. Nor 
was this strange. The village v/as a shambles. In 
an angle of the outside wall, protected on the 
third side by a shallow trench, were the survivors of 
the fight. All around la}^ the corpses of men and 
mules. The bodies of five or six native soldiers 
were being buried in a hurriedly dug grave. It 
was thought that, as they were Mahommedans, 
their resting-place would be respected by the tribes- 
men.* Eighteen wounded men lay side 057 side 
in a roofless hut. Their faces, drawn by pain and 
anxiety, looked ghastly in the pale light of the early 
morning. Tvv^o officers, one with his left hand 
smashed, the other shot through both legs, v/ere 
patiently w^aiting for the moment when the 
vised tourniquets could be removed and some relief 
afforded to their sufferings. The brigadier, his 
khaki coat stained with the blood from a w^ound on 
his head, was talking to his only staff-officer, whose 
helmet displayed a bullet-hole. The most ardent 
lover of realism would have been satisfied. Food, 
doolies, and doctors soon arrived. The wounded 
were brought to the fi.eld hospitals to be attended 
to. The unwounded hurried back to camp to 

* These bodies were afterwards dug up and mutilated by the 
natives : a foul act which excited the fury and indignation of 
soldiers of every creed in the force. I draw the reader's attention 
to this unpleasant subject, only to justify what I have said in an 
earlier chapter of the degradation of mmd in which the savages of 
the mountains are siink. 


gez breakfast and a bath. In half an hour, the lil- 
omened spot was occupied only by the few sowars 
engaged in shooting the wounded mules, and by 
the vultures who watched the proceedings with an 
expectant interest. 

Gradually we learnt the story of the night. The 
battery, about thirty sappers and half the 35th 
Sikhs, were returning to camp. At about seven 
o'clock an order was sent for them to halt and 
remain out all night, to assist the Guides Infantr^^, 
whose firing could be heard and for whose safety 
the brigadier was above all things anxious. This 
order reached the battery, and with the sappers as 
an escort the}- turned back, recrossed a nullah and 
met the general with two companies of Sikhs out- 
side the village of Bilot. The half -battalion of the 
35th did not apparently receive the order, for they 
continued their march. Lieutenant Wynter, R.A., 
was sent back to look for them. He did not find 
them, but fell in with four fresh companies, two of 
the Guides and two of the 35th, who, imder Major 
W^orlledge, had been s^t from camp in response to 
the general's demand for reinforcements. Lieu- 
tenant Wynter brought these back, as an escort to 
the guns. On arrival at the village, the brigadier 
at once sent them to the assistance of the Guides. 
He counted on his own two companies of Sikhs. 
But when Worlledge had moved off and had already 
vanished in the night, it was found that these two 
companies had disappeared, The}^ had lost touch 
in the darkness, and, not perceiving that the general 
had halted, had gone on towards camp. Thus the 


battery was left with no other escort than thirty 

A party of twelve men of the Buffs now arrived, 
and the circumstances which led them to the guns 
are worth recording. When the Buffs were retiring 
through the villages, they held a Mahommedan 
cemetery for a Httle while, in order to check the 
enemy's advance. Whilst there, Lieutenant Byron, 
Orderly Of&cer to General Jeffreys, rode up and told 
Major Moody, who commanded the rear companies, 
that a wounded ofiicer was lying in a dooly a hun- 
dred yards up the road, without any escort. He 
asked for a few m.en. Moody issued an order, and 
a dozen soldiers under a corporal started to look for 
the dooly. They missed it, but while searching, 
found the general and the battery outside the 
village. The presence of these twelve brave men — 
for they fully maintained the honour of their regi- 
ment — wdth their magazine rifles, just turned the 
scale. Had not the luck of the British anny led 
them to the village, it can hardly be doubted, and 
certainly was not doubted by any who were there, 
that the guns would have been captured and the 
general killed. Fortune, especially in war, uses 
tiny fulcra for her powerful lever. 

The general now ordered the battery and sappers 
to go into the village, but it was so full of burning 
bhoosa, that this was found to be impossible, and 
they set to work to entrench themselves outside. 
The village was soon full of the enemy. From the 
walls and houses, which on two sides commanded 
the space occupied bv the battery, they began to 


fire at about thirty yards' range. The troops were as 
much exposed as if they had been in a racket court, 
of which the enemy held the walls. They could 
not move, because they would have had to desert 
either the guns or the wounded. Fortunately, not 
many of the tribesmen at this point were armed 
with rifles. The others threw stones and burning 
bhoosa into the midst of the httle garrison. By its 
light they took good aim. Everybody got under 
such cover as was available. There was not much. 
Gunner Nihala, a gallant native soldier, repeatedly 
extinguished the burning bhoosa with his cloak at 
the imminent peril of his life. Lieutenants Watson 
and Colvin, with their sappers and the twelve men 
of the Buffs, forced their way into the village, and 
tried to expel the enemy with the bayonet. The 
village was too large for so small a party to clear. 
The tribesmen moved from one part to another, 
repeatedly firing. They Idlled and wounded several 
of the soldiers, and a bullet smashed Lieutenant 
Watson's hand. He however continued his efforts 
and did not cease until again shot, this time so 
severely as to be unable to stand. His men carried 
him from the village, and it was felt that it would 
be useless to try again. 

The attention of the reader is directed to the 
bravery of this of&cer. After a long day of march- 
ing, and fighting, in the dark, without food and with 
small numbers, the man who will go on, unshaken 
and unflinching, after he has received a severe and 
painful wound, has in respect of personal courage 
few equals and no superior in the world. It is per- 


haps as high a form of valour to endure as to dare. 
The combination of both is subhme.* 

At nine o'clock the rain stopped the firing, as the 
tribesmen were afraid of wetting their powder, but 
at about ten the}- opened again. They now made 
a great hole in the wall of the village, through which 
about a dozen men fired with terrible effect. Others 
began loopholing the walls. The guns fired case 
shot at twenty yards' range at these fierce pioneers, 
smashing the v/alls to pieces and killing many. The 
enemy replied with bullets, burning bhoosa and 
showers of stones. 

So the hours dragged away. The general and 
Captain Birch v/ere both wounded, early in the night. 
Lieutenant Winter, while behaving mth distin- 
guished gallantry, was shot through both legs at 
about 11.30. He was thus twice severely wounded 
within forty-five da^^s. He now continued to com- 
mand his guns, until he fainted from loss of blood. 
A native gunner then shielded him with his body, 
until he also was hit. The whole scene, the close, 
desperate fighting, the carcasses of the mules, the 
officers and men crouching behind them, the flam- 
ing stacks of bhoosa, the flashes of the rifles, and 
over all and around all, the darkness of the night — 
is worthy of the pencil of De Neuville. 

At length, at about midnight, help arrived. 
Worlledge's two companies had gone in search of 
the Guides, but had not found them. They now 
returned and, hearing the firing at Bilot, sent an 

* Both officers have received the Victoria Cross for their coa- 
duct on this occasiou. 


orderl}^ of the nth Bengal Lancers to ask if the 
general wanted assistance. This plucky boy — he 
was only a young recruit — rode coolly up to the 
village although the enemy were all around, and he 
stood an almost equal chance of being shot by our 
own men. He soon brought the two companies to 
the rescue, and the enemy, balked of their prey, 
presently drew off in the gloom. How much longer 
the battery and its defenders could have held out 
is uncertain. They were losing men steadily, and 
their numbers were so small that they might have 
been rushed at any moment. Such was the tale. 

No operations took place on the 17th. The 
soldiers rested, casualties were counted, wounds 
were dressed, confidence was restored. The funerals 
of the British officers and men, killed the day before, 
took place at noon. Every one who could, attended ; 
but all the pomp of military obsequies was omitted, 
and there were no Union Jacks to cover the bodies, 
nor were volleys fired over the graves, lest the 
wounded should be disturbed. Somewhere in the 
camp — exactly where, is now purposely forgotten — 
the remains of those who had lost, in fighting for 
their country, all that men can be sure of, were 
sHently interred. No monument marked the spot. 
The only assurance that it should be undisturbed is, 
that it remains unknown. Nevertheless, the funerals 
were impressive. To some the game of v/ar brings 
prizes, honour, advancement, or experience ; to 
^ome the consciousness of duty well discharged ; 
and to others — spectators, perhaps — the pleasure 
of the play and the knowledge of men and things. 

But here were those who had dra\vTi the evil num- 
bers — who had lost their all, to gain only a soldier's 
grave. Looking at these shapeless forms, coffined 
in a regulation blanket, the pride of race, the 
pomp of empire, the glory of war appeared but 
the faint and unsubstantial fabric of a dream ; and 
I could not help realising with Burke : " What 
shadows we are and what shadows we pursue." 

The actual casualties were, in proportion to the 
numbers engaged, greater than in any action of the 
British army in India for many years. Out of a 
force which at no time exceeded looo men, nine 
British officers, four native officers, and 136 soldiers 
were either killed or v/ounded. The following is 
the fuU return : — 

British Officers. 
Killed — Lieutenant and Adjutant V. Hughes, 35th Sikhs. 

„ „ A. T. Crawford, R.A. 

Wounded severely — Captain W. I. Ryder, attd. 35th Sikhs, 
„ „ Lieutenant O. G. Gunning, 35th Sikhs. 

„ „ „ O. R. Cassells, 35th Sikhs. 

T. C. Watson, R.E. 
„ F. A. Wynter, R.A. 

Wounded slightly — Brigadier-General Jeffreys, Commanding 
2nd Bde. M.F.F. 
„ „ Captain Birch, R.A. 

British Soldiers. 

Killed. Wounded. 
The Bufis 2 9 

Native Ranks. 

Killed. Wounded. 

1 1 th Bengal Lancers 2 

No. 8 Mountain Battery 6 21 

Guides Infantry 2 10 

35th Sikhs 22 45 , 

38th Dogras 2 

Sappers 4 15 

Total Casualties, 149 ; with 48 horses and mules. 


The action of the i6th September is considered 
by some to have been a reverse. I do not think 
this view is justified by the facts. The troops ac- 
comphshed every task they were set. They burned 
the village of Shahi-Tangi most completely, in spite 
of all opposition, and they inflicted on the tribesmen 
a loss of over 200 men. The enemy, though elated 
by the capture of twent37-two rifles from the bodies 
of the killed, were impressed by the bravery of the 
troops. " If," they are reported to have said, " they 
fight like this when they are divided, we can do 
nothing." Our losses were undoubtedly heavy and 
out of all proportion to the advantages gained. 
They were due to an ignorance, shared by all in the 
force, of the numbers and fighting power of the 
Mamunds. No one knew, though there were many 
who were wise after the event, that these tribesmen 
were as well armed as the troops, or that they were 
the brave and formidable adversaries they proved 
themselves. " Never despise your enemy " is an 
old lesson, but it has to be learnt afresh, year after 
year, by every nation that is warlike and brave. 
Our losses were also due to the isolation of Captain 
Ryder's company, to extricate which the whole 
force had to wait till overtaken by darkness. It 
has been said that war cannot be made without 
running risks, nor can operations be carried out in 
the face of an enemy armed with breech-loaders 
without loss. No tactics can altogether shield men 
from bullets. Those serene critics who note the 
errors, and forget the difficulties, who judge in safety 
of what was done in danger, and from the security 


of peace, pronounce upon the conduct of war, should 
remember that the spectacle of a General, wounded, 
his horse shot, remaining on the field with the last 
unit, anxious only for the safety of his soldiers, is 
a spectacle not unworthy of the pages of our mih- 
tar^' history. 

The depression, caused by the loss of amiable and 
gallant comrades, was dispelled by the prospects 
of immediate action. Sir Bindon Blood, w^hose 
position at Naw^agai was now one of danger, sent 
the brigadier, instead of reinforcements, orders to 
vigorously prosecute the operations against the 
tribesmen, and on the morning of the iSth the force 
moved to attack the village of Domodoloh, which 
the 38th Dogras had found so strongly occupied on 
the 1 6th. Again the enemy were numerous. Again 
the}^ adopted their effective tactics ; but this time 
no chances were given them. The whole brigade 
marched concentrated to the attack, and formed up 
on the level ground just out of shot. The general 
and biis staff rode forward and reconnoitred. 

The village lay in a re-entrant of the bills, from 
which two long spurs projected Hke the piers of a 
harbour. Behind, the mountains rose abruptly to a 
height of 5000 feet. The ground, embraced by the 
spurs, was filled with crops of maize and barley. A 
fort and watch-tower guarded the entrance. At 
8.30 the advance was ordered. The enemy did not 
attempt to hold the fort, and it was promptly seized 
and blown up. The explosion was a strange, though, 
during the fighting in the Mamund Valley, not an 
uncoixunon sight. A great cloud of thick brown-red 


dust sprang suddenly into the air, bulging out in all 
directions. The tower broke in half and toppled 
over. A series of mufHed bangs follov/ed. The 
dust-cloud cleared away, and nothing but a few 
ruins remained. 

The enemy now opened fire from the spurs, both 
of which became crowned with little circles of white 
smoke. The 35th Sikhs advancing cleared the right 
ridge : the 38th Dogras the left. The Guides moved 
on the village, and up the mxain re-entrant itself. 
The Buffs v/ere in reserve. The battery came into 
action on the left, and began shelling the crests of 
the opposite hills. Taking the range with their 
instruments, they fired two shots in rapid succession, 
each time at sHghtly different ranges. The Uttle 
guns exploded with a loud report. Then, far up 
the mountain side, two balls of smoke appeared, 
one above the other, and after a few seconds the 
noise of the bm'sting shells came faintly back. 
Usually one would be a little short of — and the other 
a Uttle over — the point aimed at. The next shot, 
by dividing the error, would go home, and the dust 
of the splinters and bullets would show on the peak, 
from which the tribesmen were firing, and it would 
become silent and deserted — the scene of an unre- 
garded tragedy. Gradually the spurs were cleared 
of the enemy and the Guides, passing through the 
village, chmbed up the face of the mountain and 
estabhshed themselves among the great rocks of 
the steep water-course. Isolated sharpshooters 
maintained a dropping fire. The company whose 
operations I watched, — Lieutenant Lockhai-fs, — ■ 


killed one of these with a volley, and we found him 
sitting by a httle pool, propped against a stone. He 
had been an ugly man originally, but now that the 
bones of his jaw and face were broken in pieces by 
the bullet, he was hideous to look upon. His only 
garment was a ragged blue linen cloak fastened at 
the waist. There he sat — a typical tribesman, 
ignorant, degraded, and squaUd, j^et brave and 
warlike ; his only property, his weapon, and that 
his countrymen had carried off. I could not help 
contrasting his intrinsic value as a social organism, 
with that of the officers who had been killed during 
the week, and those hues of KipHng which appear 
at the beginning of this chapter were recalled to mind 
with a strange significance. Indeed I often heard 
them quoted in the Watelai Valley. 

The sappers had now entered the village, and 
were engaged in preparing the hovels of which it 
consisted for destruction. Their flat roofs are 
covered with earth, and will not burn properly, 
unless a hole is made first in each. This took time. 
Meanwhile the troops held on to the positions they 
had seized, and maintained a desultory fire with the 
enemy. At about noon the place was Ughted up, 
and a dense cloud of smoke rose in a high column 
into the still air. Then the \vithdrawal of the troops 
was ordered. Immediately the enemy began their 
counter attack. But the Guides were handled with 
much skill. The retirement of each company was 
covered by the fire of others, judiciously posted 
farther down the hill. No opportunity was offered 
to the enemy. By one o'clock all the troops were 


clear of the broken ground. The Buffs assumed the 
duty of rear-guard, and were deUghted to have a 
brisk httle skirmish — fortunately unattended with 
loss of life — with the tribesmen, who soon reoccupied 
the burning village. This continued for, perhaps, 
half an hour, and meanwhile the rest of the brigade 
returned to camp. 

The casualties in this highly successful affair were 
small. It was the first of six such enterprises, by 
which Brigadier-General Jeffreys, with stubborn 
perseverance, broke the spirit of the Mamund 

Killed. Wounded. 

35th Sikhs 2 3 

Guides Infantry i 

3Sth Dogras 2 

Total casualties, 8. 

The enemy's losses were considerable, but no re- 
liable details could be obtained. 

On the 19th the troops rested, and only foraging 
parties left the camp. On the 20th, fighting was 
renewed. From the position at the entrance to the 
valley it was possible to see all the villages that lay 
in the hollows of the hills, and to distinguish not 
only the scenes of past but also of future actions. 
The particular village which was selected for chas- 
tisement was never mentioned by name, and it was 
not until the brigade had marched some miles from 
the camp, that the objective became evident. The 
tribesmen therefore continued in a state of " glorious 
uncertainty," and were unable to gather in really 
large numbers. At 5.30 a.m. the brigade started, 


and, preceded by the cavalry, marched up the 
valley — a long brown stream of men. Arrived 
nearly at the centre, the troops closed up into a 
more compact formation. Then suddenly the head 
wheeled to the left, and began marching on the 
village of Zagai. Immediately from high up on the 
face of the mountain a long column of smoke shot 
into the air. It was a signal fire. Other hills 
answered it. The affair now became a question 
of time. If the village could be captured and de- 
stroyed before the clans had time to gather, then 
there would be Httle fighting. But if the force 
were delayed or became involved, it was impossible 
to say on what scale the action would be. 

The village of Zagai stands in a similar situation 
to that of Domodoloh. On either side long spurs 
advance into the valley, and the houses are built 
in terraces on the sides of the hollow so formed. 
Great chenar trees, grov^dng in all their luxuriant 
beauty out of the rocky ground by the water-course, 
mark the hillside with a patch of green in contrast 
to the background of sombre brown. As the troops 
approached in fine array, the sound of incessant 
drumming was faintly heard, varied from time to 
time by the notes of a bugle. The cavalry recon- 
noitred and trotted off to watch the flank, after 
reporting the place strongly occupied. The enemy 
displayed standards on the crests of the spurs. The 
advance continued : the Guides on the left, the 
38th Dogras in the centre, the Buffs on the right, 
and the 35th Sikhs in reserve. Firing began on the 
left at about nine o'clock, and a quarter of an hour 


later the guns came into action near the centre. 
The Guides and Buffs now climbed the ridges to 
the right and left. The enemy fell back according 
to their custom, " sniping." Then the 38th pushed 
forward and occupied the village, which was handed 
over to the sappers to destroy. This they did most 
thoroughly, and at eleven o'clock a dense white 
smoke was rising from the houses and the stacks of 
hhoosa. Then the troops were ordered to withdraw. 
" Facilis ascensus Averni sed . . . ; " without allow- 
ing the quotation to lead me into difficulties, I will 
explain that while it is usually easy to advance 
against an Asiatic, all retirements are matters of 
danger. WTiile the village was being destroj-ed the 
enemy had been collecting. Their figures could 
be distinguished on the top of the mountain — a 
numerous line of dark dots against the sky ; others 
had tried to come, from the adjoining valleys on the 
left and right. Those on the right succeeded, and 
the Buffs were soon sharply engaged. On the left 
the cavalry again demonstrated the power of their 
arm. A large force of tribesmen, numbering at 
least 600 men, endeavoured to reach the scene of 
action. To get there, however, they had to cross 
the open ground, and this, in face of the Lancers, 
they would not do. Man}^ of these same tribesmen 
had joined in the attack on the i\Ialakand, and had 
been chased all across the plain of Khar by the 
fierce Indian horsemen. Thej' were not ambitious 
to repeat the experience. Ever\' time they tried to 
cross the space, which separated tliem from their 
friends. Captain Cole trotted forward vidth his 


squadron, which was only about fifty strong, and 
the tribesmen immediately scurried back to the hills. 
For a long time they were delayed, and contented 
themselves by howling out to the sowars, that they 
would soon "make mincemeat of them," to which 
the latter replied that they were welcome to try. At 
length, realising that they could not escape the 
cavalry, if they left the hills, they made a long 
circuit and arrived about half an hour after the 
village was destroyed and the troops had departed. 

Nevertheless, as soon as the retirement was seen 
to be in progress, a general attack was made all along 
the line. On the left, the Guides were threatened 
by a force of about 500 men, who advanced dis- 
playing standards, and waving swords. They 
dispersed these and drove them away by a steady 
long-range fire, killing and wounding a large number. 
On the right, the Buffs were harassed by being 
commanded by another spur. Lieutenant Hasler's 
company, which I accompanied, was protected from 
this flanking fire by the ground. A great many 
bullets, however, hummed overhead, and being 
anxious to see whence these were coming, the Ueu- 
tenant walked across the crest to the far side. The 
half-company here was briskly engaged. From a 
point high up the mountain an accurate fire was 
directed upon them. We tried to get the range 
of this point with the Lee- Met ford rifles. It was, as 
nearly as could be determined, 1400 yards. The 
tribesmen were only armed with Martini-Henrys. 
They nevertheless made excellent practice. Lieu- 
tenant R. E. Power was shot through the arm and, 


aimost immediately afterwards. Lieutenant Keene 
was severely wounded in the body. Luckily, the 
bullet struck his sword-hilt first or he would have 
been killed. Two or three men were also wounded 
here. Those who know the range and power of 
the Martini- Henry rifle will appreciate the skill 
and markmanship which can inflict loss even at 
so great a range. 

As the retirement proceeded, the tribesmen came 
to closer quarters. The Buffs, however, used their 
formidable weapon with great effect. I witnessed 
one striking demonstration of its power. Lieu- 
tenant F. S. Reeves remamed behind with a dozen 
men to cover the withdrawal of his compan}^ and 
in hopes of bringing effective fire to bear on the 
enemy, who at this time were pressing forward 
boldly. Three hundred yards away was a nullah, 
and along this they began running, in hopes of 
cutting off the small party. At one point, however, 
the line of their advance was commanded by our 
fire. Presently a man ran into the open. The 
section fired immediately. The great advantage 
of the rifle was that there was no difficulty about 
guessing the exact range, as the fixed sight could 
be used. The man dropped — a spot of white. 
Four others rushed forward. Again there was a 
volley. All four fell and remained motionless. 
After this we made good our retreat almost un- 

As soon as the troops were clear of the hills, 
the enemy occupied the rocks and ridges, and fired 
at the retreating soldiers. The Buffs' line of re- 


tirement lay over smooth, open ground. For ten 
minutes the fire was hot. Another officer and 
seven or eight men dropped. The ground was wet 
and deep, and the bullets cutting into the soft mud, 
made strange and curious noises. As soon as the 
troops got out of range, the firing ceased, as the 
tribesmen did not dare follow into the open. 

On the extreme left, considerable bodies of the 
enemy appeared, and for a momient it seemed that 
they v/ould leave the hills and come into the plain. 
The cavalry, however, trotted forward, and they ran 
back in confusion, bunching together as they did so. 
The battery immediately exploded two shrapnel 
shells in their midst with great effect. This ended 
the affair, and the troops returned to camp. The 
casualties were as follows : — 

British Officers. 
Wounded severely — 2nd Lieutenant G. N. S. Keene. 
slightly— Captain L. I. B. Hulke. 
,, ,, Lieutenant R. E. Power. 

British Soldiers. 

Killed. Wounded. 

BuflEs I 10 

(Died of wounds). 

Native Ranks. 


38th Dogras 2 

Total casualties, 16. 

I shall make the reader no apology for having 
described at such length, what was after all only a 
skirmish. The picture of the war on the frontier 
is essentially one of detail, and it is by the study 


of the details alone that a true impression can be 

On the 22nd and 23rd the villages of Dag and 
Tangi were respectively captured and destroyed, 
but as the resistance was slight and the operations 
were unmarked by any new features, I shall not 
weary the reader by further description. The 
casualties were : — 

British Officer. 
Wounded — Major S. Moody, the Buffs. 

Native Ranks. 

Killed. Wounded. 

Guides Infantry i 2 

38th Dogras 2 

By these operations the tribesmen of the Mamund 
Valley had been severely punished. Any exultation 
which they might have felt over the action of the 
1 6th was completely effaced. The brigade had 
demonstrated its power to take and bum any 
village that m^ight be selected, and had inflicted 
severe loss on all who attempted to impede its 
action. The tribesmen were now thoroughly dis- 
heartened, and on the 21st began to sue for peace. 

The situation was, however, complicated by the 
proximity of the Afghan frontier. The western 
side of the Mamund Valley is bounded by the 
mountains of the Hindu Raj range, along the sum- 
mits of which is the Durand line of demarcation 
with the Amir. On the farther side of this range 
Gholam Hyder, the Afghan commander-in-chief, lay 
with a powerful force, which, at the time of the 


actions I have described, amounted to nine bat- 
talions, six squadrons and fourteen mountain guns. 
During the attack upon Zagai, numerous figures in 
khaki uniform had been observed on the higher 
slopes of the hills, and it v/as alleged that one par- 
ticular group appeared to be directing the move- 
ments of the tribesmen. At any rate, I cannot 
doubt, nor did any one who was present during the 
fighting in the Mamund Valley, that the natives 
were aided by regular soldiers from the Afghan army, 
and to a greater extent by Afghan tribesmen, not 
onl}' by the supply of arms and ammunition but by 
actual intervention. 

I am not in possession of sufficient evidence to 
pronounce on the question of the Amir's complicity 
in the frontier risings. It is certain, that for many 
years the Afghan policy has consistently been to 
collect and preserve agents, who might be used in 
raising a revolt among the Pathan tribes. But the 
advantages which the Amir would derive from a 
quarrel with the British are not apparent. It would 
seem more probable, that he has only tried through- 
out to make his friendship a matter of more im- 
portance to the Indian Government, with a view to 
the continuance or perhaps the increase of his sub- 
sidy. It is possible, that he has this year tested and 
displayed his power ; and that he has desired to show 
us what a dangerous foe he might be, were he not 
so useful an ally. The question is a dehcate and 
difficult one. Most of the evidence is contained in 
Secret State Papers. The inquiry would be profit- 
less ; the result possibly unwelcome. Patriotic dis- 


cretion is a virtue which should at all times be 
zealously cultivated. 

I do not see that the facts I have stated diminish 
or incresLse the probability of the Amir's comphcity. 
As the American filibusters sympathise with the 
Cuban insurgents ; as the Jameson raiders supported 
the outlanders of the Transvaal, so also the soldiers 
and tribesmen of Afghanistan sympathised with and 
aided their countr3/men and co-religionists across the 
border. Probably the Afghan Colonial Office would 
have been vindicated by any inquiry. 

It is no disparagement but rather to the honour 
of men, that they should be prepared to back with 
their Hves causes which claim their sympathy. It 
is indeed to such men that human advancement 
has been due. I do not allude to this m.atter, to 
raise hostile feehngs against the Afghan tribesmen 
or their ruler, but only to explain the difficulties 
encountered in the Mamund Valley by the 2nd 
Brigade of the Malakand Field Force : to ex- 
plain how it was that defenders of obscure villages 
were numbered by thousands, and why the weapons 
of poverty-stricken agriculturists were excellent 
Martini-Henry rifles. 

The Mamunds themselves were now genuinely 
anxious for peace. Their valley was in our hands ; 
their villages and crops were at our mercy ; but 
their aUies, who suffered none of these things, were 
eager to continue the struggle. They had captured 
most of the rifles of the dead soldiers on the i6th, 
and they had no intention of giving them up. On 
the other hand, it was obvious that the British Raj 


could not afford to be defied in this matter. We 
had insisted on the rifles being surrendered, and that 
expensive factor, Imperial prestige, demanded that 
we should prosecute operations till we got them, no 
matter what the cost might be. The rifles were 
worth little. The men and officers we lost were 
worth a great deal. It was unsound economics, but 
ImperiaHsm and economics clash as often as honesty 
and self-interest. We were therefore committed to 
the policy of throwing good money after bad in 
order to keep up our credit ; as a man who cannot 
pay his tradesmen, sends them fresh orders in lieu 
of settlement. Under these unsatisfactory con- 
ditions, the negotiations opened. They did not, 
however, interfere with the military situation, 
and the troops continued to forage daily in the 
valley, and the tribesmen to fire nightly into the 

At the end of the week a message from the 
Queen, expressing sympathy with the sufferings of 
the wounded, and satisfaction at the conduct of 
the troops, was published in Brigade orders. It 
caused the most lively pleasure to all, but particu- 
larly to the native soldiers, who heard with pride 
and exultation that their deeds and dangers were 
not unnoticed by that august Sovereign before 
whom they know all their princes bow, and to whom 
the Sirkar itself is but a servant. The cynic and 
the socialist may sneer after their kind ; yet the 
patriot, who examines with anxious care those forces 
which tend to the cohesion or disruption of great 
commimities, will observe how much the influence 


of a loyal sentiment promotes the solidarit}^ of the 

The reader must now accom_pany me to the camp 
of the 3rd Brigade, twelve miles away, at Nawagai. 
We shall return to the Mamund Valley and have 
a further opportunity of studying its people and 
natural features. 



" When the wild Bajaur mountain men lay choking with their blood, 
And the Kafirs held their footing. . . ." 

" A Sermon in Lower Bengal," Sir A. Lyall. 

" The Light of Asia " — The Strategic Situation — 
Decision of the General — Rival Inducements — 
Alarums and Excursions — The Night Attack — 
The Casualties — Dismay of the Tribes — The Moh- 
mand Field Force — Sir Pertab Singh — Polo as an 
Imperial Factor — Departure of the 3rd Brigade. 

FEW spectacles in nature are so mournful and so 
sinister as the implacable cruelty with which a 
wounded animal is pursued by its fellows. Perhaps 
it is due to a cold and bracing cHmate, perhaps to 
a Christian civilisation, that the Western peoples of 
the world have to a great extent risen above this 
low original instinct. Among Europeans power 
provokes antagonism, and weakness excites pity. 
All is different in the East. Beyond Suez the bent 
of men's minds is such, that safety lies only in 
success, and peace in prosperity. All desert the 
falhng. All turn upon the fallen. 

The reader may have been struck, in the account 
* See map of operations in Bajaur facing page 264. 


of the fighting in the Mamund Valley, with the 
vigour with which the tribesmen follow up a retreat- 
ing enemy and press an isolated party. In war this 
is sound, practical poHcy. But the hillmen adopt it 
rather from a natural propensity, than from mihtary 
knowledge. Their tactics are the outcome of their 
natures. All their actions, moral, pohtical, strategic, 
are guided by the same principle. The powerful 
tribes, who had watched the passage of the troops 
in sullen fear, only waited for a sign of weakness to 
rise behind them. As long as the brigades domi- 
nated the country, and appeared confident and suc- 
cessful, their communications would be respected, 
and the risings locahsed ; but a check, a reverse, a 
retreat would raise tremendous combinations on 
ever\" side. 

If the reader will bear this in mind, it will enable 
him to appreciate the position with which this 
chapter deals, and may explain many other matters 
which are beyond the scope of these pages. For 
it might be well also to remember, that the great 
drama of frontier war is played before a vast, 
silent but attentive audience, who fill a theatre, that 
reaches from Peshawar to Colombo, and from 
Kurrachee to Rangoon. 

The strategic and pohtical situation, with which 
Sir Bindon Blood was confronted at Nawagai on 
the 17th of September, was one of difficulty and 
danger. He had advanced into a hostile country. 
In his front the Mohmands had gathered at the 
Hadda MuUah's call to oppose his further progress. 
The single brigade he had with him was not strong 


enough to force the Bedmanai Pass, which the enemy 
held. The 2nd Brigade, on which he had counted, 
was fully employed twelve miles away in the 
Mamund Valley. The ist Brigade, nearly four 
marches distant on the Panjkora River, had not 
sufficient transport to move. Meanwhile General 
Elles's division was toiling painfully through the 
difficult country north-east of Shabkadr, and could 
not arrive for several days. He was therefore 
isolated, and behind him was the " network of 
ravines," through which a retirement would be a 
matter of the greatest danger and difficulty. 

Besides this, his Une of communications, stretch- 
ing away through sixty miles of hostile country, or 
country that at any moment might become hostile, 
was seriously threatened by the unexpected out- 
break in the Mamund Valley. He was between two 
fires. Nor was this all. The Khan of Nawagai, a 
chief of great power and influence, was only kept 
loyal by the presence of Sir Bindon Blood's brigade. 
Had that brigade marched, as was advocated by 
the Government of India, back to join Brigadier- 
General Jeffreys in the Mamund Valley, this power- 
ful chief would have thrown his whole weight 
against the British. The fiame m the Mamund 
Valley, joining the flame in the Bedmanai Pass, 
would have produced a mighty conflagration, and 
have spread far and wide among the inflammable 
tribesmen. Bajaur would have risen to a man. 
Swat, in spite of its recent punishment, v\^ould 
have stirred ominously. Dir would have repudiated 
its ruler and joined the combination. The whole 


mountain region would have been ablaz*^. Every 
valley would have poured forth armed men. 
General Elles, arriving at Lakarai, would have 
found, instead of a supporting brigade, a hostile 
gathering, and might even have had to return to 
Shabkadr without accomplisliing anything. 

Sir Bindon Blood decided to remain at Nawagai ; 
to cut the Hadda Mullah's gathering from the 
tribesmen in the Mamund Valley ; to hold out a 
hand to General Elles ; to keep the pass open and 
the khan loyal. Nawagai was the key of the situa- 
tion. But that key could not be held without much 
danger. It v/as a bold course to take, but it suc- 
ceeded, as bold courses, soundly conceived, usually 
do. He therefore sent orders to Jeffreys to press 
operations against the Mamund tribesmen ; assured 
the Khan of Nawagai of the confidence of the 
Government, and of their determination to " pro- 
tect " him from all enemies ; heliographed to 
General Elles that he would meet him at Nawagai ; 
entrenched his camp and waited. 

He did not wait long in peace. The tribesmen, 
whose tactical instincts have been evolved by cen- 
turies of ceaseless war, were not slow to reaUse that 
the presence of the 3rd Brigade at Nawagai was 
fatal to their hopes. They accordingly resolved to 
attack it. The Suffi and Hadda Mullahs exerted 
the whole of their influence upon their credulous 
followers. The former appealed to the hopes of 
future happiness. Every Ghazi who fell fighting 
should sit above the Caaba at the very footstool of 
the throne, and in that exalted situation and august 



presence should be solaced for his sufferings by the 
charms of a double allowance of celestial beauty. 
Mullah Hadda used even more concrete induce- 
ments. The muzzles of the guns should be stopped 
for those who charged home. No bullet should 
harm them. They should be invulnerable. They 
should not go to Paradise yet. They should con- 
tinue to Uve honoured and respected upon earth. 
This promise appears to have carried more weight, 
as the Hadda Mullah's followers had three times as 
many killed and wounded as the candidates for the 
pleasures of the world to come. It would almost 
seem, that in the undeveloped minds of these wild 
and superstitious sons of the mountains, there he 
the embryonic germs of economics and practical 
philosophy, pledges of latent possibilities of progress. 

Some for the pleasures of this world, and some 
Sigh for the prophet's paradise to come. 

Ah ! take the cash and let the credit go, 
Nor heed the rumble of a distant drum.* 

It is the practice of wise commanders in aU war- 
fare, to push their cavalry out every evening along 
the lines of possible attack, to make sure that no 
enemy has concentrated near the camp in the hopes 
of attacking at nightfall. On the i8th, Captain 
Delamain's squadron of the nth Bengal Lancers 
came in contact with scattered parties of the enemy 
coming from the direction of the Bedmanai Pass. 
Desultory skirmishing ensued, and the cavalry re- 
tired to camp. Some firing took place that night, 

* Omar Khayyam. 


and a soldier of the Queen's Regiment who strayed 
about fifty yards from his picket, was pulled down 
and murdered by the savage enemies, who were 
lurking all around. The next evening the cavalry 
reconnoitred as usual. The squadron pushed for- 
ward protected by its line of advanced scouts across 
the plain towards the Bedmanai Pass. Suddenly 
from a nullah a long line of tribesmen rose and 
fired a volley. A horse was shot. The squadron 
wheeled about and cantered off, having succeeded 
in what is technically called " establisliing contact." 

A great gathering of the enemy, some 3000 strong, 
now appeared in the plain. For about half an hour 
before sunset they danced, shouted and discharged 
their rifles. The mountain battery fired a few shells, 
but the distance was too great to do much good, 
or shall I say harm ? Then it became dark. The 
whole brigade remained that night in the expec- 
tation of an attack, but only a very half-hearted 
attempt was made. This was easil}^ repulsed, one 
man in the Queen's Regiment being killed among 
the troops. 

On the 20th, however, definite information was 
received from the Khan of Nawagai, that a deter- 
mined assault would be made on the camp that night. 
The cavalry reconnaissance again came in touch 
with the enemy at nightfall. The officers had 
dinner an hour earlier, and had just finished, when, 
at about 8.30, firing began. The position of the camp 
was commanded, though at long ranges, by the sur- 
rounding heights. From these a searching rifle fire 
was now opened. Ail the tents were struck. The 


oificers and men not employed in the trenches were 
directed to He down. The majority of the bullets, 
clearing the parapets of the entrenchment on one 
side, whizzed across without doing any harm to 
the prostrate figures ; but all walking about was 
perilous, and besides this the plunging fire from the 
heights was galling to every one. 

Determined and vigorous sword charges were 
now delivered on all sides of the camp. The enemy, 
who numbered about 4000, displayed the greatest 
valour. They rushed right up to the trenches and 
fell dead and dying, under the very bayonets of 
the troops. The brunt of the attack fell upon 
the British Infantry Regiment, the Queen's. This 
was fortunate, as many who were in camp that 
night say, that such was the determination of the 
enemy in their charges, that had they not been con- 
fronted with magazine rifles, the}^ might have got 
into the entrenchments. 

The fire of the British was, however, crushing. 
Their discipline was admirable, and the terrible 
weapon with which they were armed, with its more 
terrible bullet, stopped every rush. The soldiers, 
confident in their power, were under perfect control. 
When the enemy charged, the order to employ 
magazine fire was passed along the ranks. The 
guns fired star sheU. These great rockets, bursting 
into stars in the air, slowly fell to the ground shed- 
ding a pale and ghastly light on the swarming 
figures of the tribesmen as they ran swiftly forward. 
Then the popping of the musketry became one 
intense roar as the ten cartridges, which the maga- 


zine of the rifle holds, were discharged almost m- 
stantaneously. Nothing could live in front of such 
a fire. Valour, ferocity, fanaticism, availed nothing. 
All were swept away. The whistles sounded. The 
independent firing stopped, with machine-Uke pre- 
cision, and the steady section volleys were resumed. 
This happened not once, but a dozen times during 
the six hours that the attack was maintained. The 
20th Punjaub Infantry', and the cavalry also, sus- 
tained and repulsed the attacks delivered against 
their fronts with steadiness. At length the tribes- 
men sickened of the slaughter, and retired to their 
hills in gloom and disorder. 

The experience of all in the camp that night 
was most unpleasant. Those who were in the 
trenches were the best off. The others, with 
nothing to do and nothing to look at, remained 
for six hours hing dov/n wondering whether the 
next bullet would hit them or not. Some idea 
of the severity of the fire may be obtained from the 
fact that a single tent showed sixteen bullet holes. 

Brigadier-General Wodehouse was wounded at 
about eleven o'clock. He had walked round the 
trenches and conferred with his commanding 
officers as to the progress of the attack and the 
expenditure of ammunition, and had just left Sir 
Bindon Blood's side, after reporting, when a bullet 
struck him in the leg, inflicting a severe and pain- 
ful, though fortunately not a dangerous, wound. 

Considering the great number of bullets that had 
fallen in the camp, the British loss was surprisingly 
small. The full return is as follows : — 


British Officers. 
Wounded severely — Brigadier-General Wodehouse. 
„ slightly — Veterinary-Captain Mann. 

British Soldiers. 

Killed. Wounded. 

Queen's Regiment i 3 

Native Ranks — Wounded, 20. 
Followers — „ 6. 

Total, 32 of all ranks. 

The casualties among the cavalry horses and 
transport animals were most severe. Over 120 
were killed and wounded. 

The enemy drew off, carrying their dead with 
them, for the most part, but numerous bodies 
lying outside the shelter trench attested the valour 
and vigour of their attack. One man was found 
the next morning, whose head had been half blown 
off, by a discharge of case shot from one of the 
mountain gims. He lay within a yard of the 
muzzle, the muzzle he had believed would be 
stopped, a victim to that blind credulity and 
fanaticism, now happily passing away from the 
earth, under the combined influences of Rationalism 
and machine guns. 

It was of course very difficult to obtain any 
accurate estimate of the enemy's losses. It was 
proved, however, that 200 corpses were buried on 
the following day in the neighbourhood, and large 
numbers of wounded men were reported to have 
been carried through the various villages. A rough 
estimate should place their loss at about 700. 

The situation was now cleared. The back of the 
Hadda Mullah's gathering was broken, and it dis- 


persed rapidly. The Khan of Nawagai feverishly 
protested his unswerving loyalty to the Govern- 
ment. The Mamunds were disheartened. The 
next day General Elles's leading brigade appeared 
in the valley. Sir Bindon Blood rode out \\ith his 
cavalry. The two generals met at Lakarai. It 
was decided that General Elles should be reinforced 
by the 3rd Brigade of the Malakand Field Force, 
and should clear the Bedmanai Pass and complete 
the discomfiture of the Hadda Mullah. Sir Bindon 
Blood with the cavalry would join Jeffreys' force 
in the Mamund Valley, and deal with the situation 
there. The original plan of taking two brigades 
from the Malakand to Peshawar was thus discarded ; 
and such troops of Sir Bindon Blood's force as 
were required for the Tirah expedition would, 
with the exception of the 3rd Brigade, reach their 
points of concentration via Nowshera. As will be 
seen, this plan was still further modified to meet 
the progress of events. 

I had rejoined the 3rd Brigade on the morning 
of the 2 1st, and in the evening availed myself of an 
escort, which was proceeding across the valley, to 
ride over and see General Elles's brigade. The 
mobilisation of the Mohmand Field Force was 
marked by the employment, for the first time, of 
the Imperial Service Troops. The Maharaja of 
Patiala, and Sir Pertab Singh, were both with the 
force. The latter was sitting outside his tent, ill 
with fever, but cheery and brave as ever. The 
spectacle of this splendid Indian prince, whose 
magnificent uniform in the Jubilee procession had 


attracted the attention of all beholders, now clothed 
in business-like khaki, and on service at the head 
of his regiment, aroused the most pleasing reflec- 
tions. With all its cost in men and money, and all 
its mihtary and poHtical mistakes, the great Frontier 
\^'ar of 1897 has at least shown on what founda- 
tions the British rule in India rests, and made clear 
who are our friends and who our enemies. 

I could not help thinking, that polo has had a 
good deal to do with strengthening the good rela- 
tions of the Indian princes and the British officers. 
It ma}' seem strange to speak of polo as an Imperial 
factor, but it would not be the first time in history 
that national games have played a part in high 
politics. Polo has been the common ground on 
which English and Indian gentlemen have met on 
equal terms, and it is to that meeting that much 
mutual esteem and respect is due. Besides this, 
polo has been the salvation of the subaltern in 
India, and the young officer no longer, as hereto- 
fore, has a " centre piece " of brandy on his table 
night and day. The pony and polo stick have drawn 
him from his bungalow and mess-room, to play a 
game which must improve his nerve, his judgment 
and his temper. The author of the Indian Polity 
asserts that the day will come when British and 
native officers will serve together in ordinary' 
seniority, and on the same footing. From what I 
know of the British oiticer, I do not myself believe 
that this is possible ; but if it should ever come to 
pass, the way will have been prepared on the polo 



The camp of the 3rd Brigade was not attacked 
again. The tribesmen had learnt a bitter lesson 
from their experiences of the night before. The 
trenches were, however, lined at dark, and as small 
parties of the enemy were said to be moving about 
across the front, occupied by the Queen's, there 
was some very excellent volley firing at intervals 
throughout the night. A few dropping shots came 
back out of the darkness, but no one was the worse, 
and the majority of the force mad^ up for the sleep 
they had lost the night before. 

The next morning Sir Bindon Blood, his staff 
and three squadrons of the nth Bengal Lancers, 
rode back through the pass of Nawagai, and joined 
General Jeffreys at Inayat Kila. The 3rd Brigade 
now left the Malakand Field Force, and passed 
under the command of General Elles and beyond 
the proper limits of this chronicle ; but for the sake 
of completeness, and as the reader may be anxious 
to hear more of the fine regiment, whose astonishing 
fixre relieved the strategic situation at Nawagai, and 
inflicted such terrible losses on the Hadda Mullah's 
adherents, I shall briefly trace their further fortunes. 

After General Wodehouse was wounded the com- 
m.and of the 3rd Brigade devolved upon Colonel 
Graves. They were present at the forcing of the 
Bedmanai Pass on the 29th of September, and on 
the two following days they were employed in 
destroying the fortified villages in the Mitai and 
Suran valleys ; but as these operations were un- 
attended by much loss of life, the whole brigade 
reached Shabkadr with only three casualties. 


Thence the Queen's were despatched to Peshawar 
to take part in the Tirah expedition, in which 
they have added to the high reputation they had 
acquired in the i\Ialakand and Mohmand Field 



" Again I revisit the hills where we sported. 
The streams where we swam, and the fields where we fought." 
" On a Distant View of Harrow," Byrok. 

Diilce Z)omziW2— Reorganisation — The Peace Negotia- 
tions — Renewal of Hostilities — Destruction — 
Some Misconceptions — The Attack upon Agrah — 
The Royal West Kent— A Soldier's Fate— The 
Artillery — The Casualties — Reinforcements — 
Affair of 3rd October — The loth Field Battery — 
The Compensations of War. 

IT is with a vague and undefined feeling of satis- 
faction that I conduct the reader back to the 
entrenched camp of Inayat Kila at the entrance of 
the Mamund Valley, where so much happened, and 
with which so many memories and experiences are 
associated. Now that " the troops are gone, the 
scene of hfe and activity has become sohtary and 
silent. The graves of the officers and men who fell 
there are lost in the level of the plain. Yet the 
name is still remembered m not a fev/ Enghsh homes, 
nor will the tribesmen, looking at the deserted 
entrenchment, easily forget the visit of the 2nd 


WHien, on the afternoon of the 15th, the camp had 
first been pitched, only a small and hasty shelter- 
trench surrounded it. But as the weeks passed, the 
parapets grew higher, the ditches deeper, and the 
pits more numerous, until the whole place became 
a redoubt. Traverses were built along the perimeter 
to protect the defenders from flanking fire. Great 
walls of earth and stone sheltered the horses and 
mules. Fifty yards out, round the whole camp, a 
wire trip was carefully laid, to break a rush, and 
the paths and tracks leading to the entrances had 
become beaten, level roads. The aspect of per- 
manency v/as comforting. 

Since the action of the i6th September, the 2nd 
Brigade had been unable to move. Transport — 
the life and soul of an army — is an even more 
vital factor here than in less undeveloped countries. 
The mobihty of a brigade depends entirely on its 
pack animals. On the 14th many mules were 
killed. On the i6th the field hospitals were 
filled with wounded. It now became impossible 
for the camp to move, because the wounded could 
not be carried. It was impossible to leave them 
behind, because, deducting an adequate guard, 
the rest of the brigade would have been too few 
for fighting. The 2nd Brigade was therefore a 
fixture. Its striking power was limited to out and 
home marches. The first step taken by Sir Bindon 
Blood was to restore its mobility by getting the 
wounded sent down to the base. Some changes 
in the constitution of the force were also made. 
The nth Bengal Lancers, who now joined the 


]\lohmand Field Force, were succeeded by the 
Guides Cavalry. The 35th Sikhs, who had suffered 
such severe losses, were replaced by the 31st Pun- 
jaub Infantry from Panjkora. The Buffs, who 
were full of fever, were exchanged for the Royal 
West Kent from the Malakand. No. 7 British 
Mountain Batter^^ took the place of No. 8, which 
was now reduced to four guns, ha\'ing lost in the 
week's fighting half its officers, a third of its mules, 
and a quarter of its men. 

Camels to carry the wounded were sent up from 
Panjkora. The Buffs escorted the long convoy 
down the Hne of communications. Ever^^ one in 
camp was sorry to see the last of them. In the 
fighting of the week they had made it clear that 
the British Infantry battahon is the backbone of 
every mixed brigade, and they shared with the 
Guides Infantry one of those enviable reputations 
for steadiness which are so hard to gain and so 
easy to lose on active service. 

On the 24th of September Sir Bindon Blood 
received despatches appointing him to the com- 
mand of the First Division of the Tirah Expedi- 
tionary Force, and as the negotiations ^vith the 
Mamund Jirgahs were then in progress, and it 
seemed that a settlement might be reached, he pro- 
ceeded with his staff to Panjkora. Here he was 
on the telegraph wire, and could communicate 
easily and quickly with India, and at the same 
time watch the progress of events at Inayat Kila. 
Mr. Davis conducted the diplomatic relations with 
the Mamunds. On the 26th a Jirgah from the 


tribe came into camp. They deposited 4000 
rupees as a token of submission, and brought in 
fifty firearms. These, however, were of the oldest 
and most antiquated types, and were obviously 
not the weapons with which so many soldiers 
had been killed and wounded. This was pointed 
out to the tribal representatives. They protested 
that they had no others. They were poor men, they 
said, and their property was at the mercy of the 
Government. But they had no other arms. 

The political officer was firm, and his terms were 
explicit. Either they must give up the twenty-two 
rifles captured from the 35th Sikhs, on the i6th, or 
their villages would be destroyed. No other terms 
would he accept. To this they repUed, that they 
had not got the rifles. They had all been taken, they 
said, and I think with truth, by the Afghan tribes- 
men from the Kunar Valley. These would not 
give them up. Besides — this also with truth — they 
had been taken in " fair war." 

One man, who had Hved some years in Calcutta, 
was especially eloquent on the subject, and argued 
the case with much skill. He was, however, 
crushed by Mr. Davies asking whether there were 
" no greybeards in the tribe," and why they were 
" led by a bahu," * The discussion was extended 
to the whole question of their quarrel with the 
British power. They admitted having sent their 
young men to attack the Malakand and Chakdara. 
" All the world was going ghaza," they said. They 
could not stay behind. They also owned to having 

* A native clerk — the Oriental embodiment of Red Tape. 


gone five miles from their valley to attack the 
camp at Markhanai. Why had the Sirkar burnt 
their village ? they asked. They had only tried to 
get even — for the sake of their honour. All this 
showed a most unsatisfactory spirit from the Gov- 
ernment point of view, and it was evident that 
the brigade could not leave the valley until the 
tribesmen adopted a more submissive attitude. The 
matter reverted to the crucial point. Would they 
give up their rifles or not ? To this they replied 
evasively, that they would consult their fellow- 
tribesmen and return an answer on the next day. 
This practically amounted to a refusal, and as no re- 
ply was received on the 27th, the negotiations ceased. 
In consequence of this and of the threatening 
attitude of the tribesmen throughout Dir and 
Bajaur, Sir Bindon Blood telegraphed to the Gov- 
ernment of India and recommended the reten- 
tion of a large force in these territories. By so 
doing he virtually resigned the command which 
awaited him in the Tirah expedition. This dis- 
interested decision caused the Uveliest satisfaction 
throughout the force. The Government accepted 
the advice of their general. The Tirah force was 
reconstituted, and Major-General W. P. Symons 
received the command of its first di\dsion. A force 
of eleven battalions, seven squadrons and three 
batteries was placed at Sir Bindon Blood's disposal, 
and he was directed to deal with the local situa- 
tion as he should see fit. He immediately ordered 
General Jeffreys to resume the punitive operations 
against the Mamunds. 


In pursuance of these orders, the 2nd Brigade, on 
the 29th, destroyed all the villages in the centre of 
the valley, some twelve or fourteen in number, and 
blew up wdth d;yTiamite upwards of thirty towers 
and forts. The whole valley was filled \\ith the 
smoke, which curled upwards in dense and nu- 
merous columns, and hung like a cloud over the 
scene of destruction. The continued explosions of 
the demolitions resembled a bombardment. The 
tribesmen, unable to contend with the troops in 
the open, remained sullenly on the hillsides, and 
contented themselves with firing from long range at 
the cavalry patrols. 

I feel that this is a fitting moment to discuss 
the questions which village-burning raises. I have 
described with independent impartiality the progress 
of the quarrel between the British and the tribesmen. 
In a similar spirit I approach the examination of 
the methods of offence employed. Many miscon- 
ceptions, some of which are caused by an extraor- 
dinary ignorance, exist on this subject in England. 
One member of the House of Commons asked the 
Secretary of State whether, in the punishment of 
villages, care was taken that only the houses of the 
guilty parties should be destroyed. He was gravely 
told that great care was taken. The spectacle 
of troops, who have perhaps carried a village with 
the bayonet and are holding it against a vigorous 
counter-attack, when every moment means loss 
of life and increase of danger, going round and 
carefully discriminating wliich houses are occupied 
by " guilty parties," and which by unoffending 


people, is sufficiently ridiculous. Another member 
asked, " Whether the villages were destroyed or 
only the fortifications," " Only the fortifications," 
replied the minister guilelessly. What is the 
actual fact ? All along the Afghan border every 
man's house is his castle. The villages are the 
fortifications, the fortifications are the villages. 
Every house is loopholed, and whether it has a 
tower or not depends only on its owner's wealth. 
A third legislator, in the columns of his amusing 
weekly journal, discussed the question at some 
length, and commented on the barbarity of such 
tactics. They were not only barbarous, he affirmed, 
but senseless. Where did the inhabitants of the 
villages go ? To the enemy of course ! This 
reveals, perhaps, the most remarkable miscon- 
ception of the actual facts. The writer seemed to 
imagine that the tribesmen consisted of a regular 
army, who fought, and a peaceful, law-abiding 
population, who remained at their business, and 
perhaps protested against the excessive military 
expenditure from time to time. Whereas in T-eaiity, 
throughout these regions, every inhabitant is a 
soldier from the first day he is old enough to hurl 
a stone, till the last day he has strength to pull 
a trigger, after which he is probably murdered as 
an encumbrance to the community. 

Equipped with these corrected facts, I in\dte the 
reader to examine the question of the legitimacy of 
village-burning for him^self. A camp of a British 
brigade, moving at the order of the Indian Govern- 
ment and under the acquiescence of the people of 


the United Kingdom, is attacked at night. Several 
valuable and expensive officers, soldiers and trans- 
port animals are killed and wounded. The assail- 
ants retire to the hills. Thither it is impossible 
to follow them. They cannot be caught. They 
cannot be punished. Only one remedy remains — 
their property must be destroyed.* Their villages 
are made hostages for their good behaviour. They 
are fully aware of this, and when they make an 
attack on a camp or convoy, they do it because 
they have considered the cost and think it worth 
while. Of course, it is cruel and barbarous, as is 
everything else in w^ar, but it is only an unphilo- 
sophic mind that will hold it legitimate to take a 
man's life, and illegitimate to destroy his property. 
The burning of mud hovels cannot at any rate 
be condemned by nations whose customs of war 
justify the bombardment of the dwelHng-houses of 
a city like Paris, to induce the garrison to sur- 
render by the sufferings of the non-combatants. 

* It may be of interest, to consider for a moment the contrast 
between the effects of village-burning on the Indian Frontier 
and in Cuba. In Cuba a small section of the population are in re- 
volt ; the remainder are sj'^mpathisers. To screw these lukewarm 
partisans up to the f:ghting-point, the insurgents destroy their 
villages and bum the sugar-cane. This, by placing the alterna- 
tive of " fight or starve " before the inhabitants, has the effect of 
driving them to take up arms against the Spaniards, whom they 
all hate, and join the rebels in the field. Thus in Cuba it is 
the endeavour of the Government to protect property, and of the 
rebels to destroy it. It was with the aim of keeping the wavering 
population loyal, that General Weyler collected them all into the 
towns, with such painful results. His policy was cruel but sound, 
and, had it been accompanied by vigorous military operations, 
might have been successful. 


In official parlance the burning of villages is 
usually expressed euphemistically as "So many 
villages were visited and punished," or, again, " The 
fortifications were demolished." I do not believe in 
all this circumlocution. The lack of confidence in 
the good sense of the British democracy, which the 
Indian Government displays, is one of its least 
admirable characteristics. Exeter Hall is not all 
England ; and the people of our islands only require 
to have the matter put fairly before them to arrive at 
sound, practical conclusions. If this were not so, we 
should not occupy our present position in the world. 

To return to the Mamund Valley. The differ- 
ence between villages in the plains and those in the 
hills was forcibly dem.onstrated. On the 29ih over 
a dozen villages in the plains were destroyed with- 
out the loss of a single life. On the 30th the tale 
ran somewhat differently. The village of Agrah 
adjoins the village of Zagai, the capture of which 
has already been recorded. It stood in a broad 
re-entrant of the mountains, and amid ground so 
tangled and broken, that to move over it is 
difficult, and to describe it impossible. On the 
steep face of the mountain great rocks, sometimes 
thirty feet high, lay tossed about : interspersed with 
these were huts or narrow terraces, covered with 
crops, and rising one above the other by great 
steps of ten or twelve feet each. The attack on 
such a place was further complicated by the fact 
that the same re-entrant contained another village 
called Gat, which had to be occupied at the same 
time. This compelled the brigade to attack on 


a broader front than their numbers allowed. It 
was evident, as the Guides Cavalry approached 
the hills, that resistance was contemplated. Several 
red standards were visible to the naked eye, and 
the field-glasses disclosed numerous figures lining 
the ridges and spurs. The squadrons, advancing as 
far as the scrub would allow them, soon drew the 
fire of isolated skirmishers. Several troops dis- 
mounted, and returned the salute with their car- 
bines, and at 8.45 a dropping musketry fire began. 
The brigade now came into action in the follow- 
ing formation. The cavalry, on the extreme left, 
covered the head of a considerable vaUey, from 
which the flank was threatened ; the Guides In- 
fantry and the Royal West Kent Regiment pro- 
longed the line to the centre of the attack ; the 
31st Punjaub Infantry moved against the spurs to 
the right of the village, and the 38th Dogras were 
in reserve. The action was begun by the Guides 
Infantry storming the ridges to the left of the 
enemy's position. These were strongly held and 
fortified by simgars, behind which the defenders 
were sheltered. The Guides advanced at a brisk 
pace, and without much firing, across the open 
ground to the foot of the hills. The tribesmen, 
shooting from excellent cover, maintained a hot 
fire. The bullets kicked up the dust in all direc- 
tions, or whistled viciously through the air ; but 
the distance w£ls short, and it was soon apparent 
that the enemy did not mean to abide the assault. 
When the troops got within 100 yards and fixed 
bayonets, a dozen determined men were stiU firing 

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W tH E^ 


from the sungars. The Afridi and Pathan com- 
panies of the Guides, uttering shrill cries of exulta- 
tion, culminating in an extraordinary yell, dashed 
forward, climbed the hill as only hillmen can climb, 
and cleared the crest. On the side of the next 
hill the figures of the retreating tribesmen were 
visible, and many were shot down before they 
could find shelter. 

It was a strange thing, to watch these conspicuous 
forms toiling up the hillside, dodging this way and 
that way, as the bullets cut into the earth around 
them ; but with the experience of the previous ten 
minutes fresh in the memory, pity was not one of 
the emotions it aroused. A good many fell, sub- 
siding peacefully, and lying quite still. Their fall 
was greeted by strange little yells of pleasure from 
the native soldiers. These Afridi and Pathan com- 
panies of the Guides Infantry suggest nothing so 
much as a well-trained pack of hounds. Their cries, 
their movements, and their natures are similar. 

The West Kents had now come into line on the 
Guides' right, and while the latter held the long 
ridge they had taken, the British regiment moved 
upon the village. Here the resistance became very 
severe. The tangled and broken ground, rising in 
terraces, sometimes ten feet high, and covered with 
high crops, led to fighting at close quarters with 
loss on both sides. Loud and continuous grew 
the musketry fire. The 31st Punjaub Infantry, 
who had ascended the spur on the right, soon joined 
hands with the West Kents, and both regiments 
became hotly engaged. Meantime the Mountain 


Battery, which had come into action near the 
centre, began to throw its shells over the heads of 
the infantry on to the higher slopes, from which the 
enemy were firing. It soon becam.e evident that 
the troops were too few for the work. On the left 
the Guides Infantry were unable to leave the ridge 
they had captured, lest it should be reoccupied by 
the enemy, who were showing in great strength. A 
gap opened in consequence, between the Guides 
and Ro3''al West Kents, and this enabled the tribes- 
men to get round the left flank of the British 
regiment, while the 31st Punjaub Infantry, on the 
right, were also turned by the enveloping enemy. 
It is to these circumstances that most of the losses 
were due. 

The British regiment forced its way through the 
village, and encountered the enemy strongly posted 
in sun gars among the rocks above it. Here they 
were sharply checked. The leading company had 
stormed one of these fortifications, and the enemy 
at once retired higher up the hiU. About fifteen 
men were inside the work, and perhaps thirty more 
just below it. The whole place was commanded 
by the higher ground. The enemy's fire was accu- 
rate and intense. 

Of those inside, four or five were instantly kiUed 
or wounded. The sungar was a regular trap, and 
the company were ordered to retire. Lieutenant 
Bro\\Tie-Clayton remained till the last, to v/atch the 
withdrawal, and in so doing was shot dead, the 
bullet severing the blood-vessels near the heart. 
The two or three men^who remained were handing 


down his body over the rock wall, when they were 
charged by about thirty Ghazis and driven down 
the hill. A hundred and fifty yards away, Major 
Western had three companies of the West Kents 
in support. He immediately ordered Captain Styles 
to retake the simgar, and recover the body. The 
company charged. Captain Styles was the first to 
reach the stone wall, and with Lieutenant Jackson 
cleared it of such of the enemy as remained. Five 
or six men were wounded in the charge, and others 
fell in the sungar. The advanced position of this 
company was soon seen to be untenable, and they 
were ordered to fall back to the edge of the village, 
where the whole regiment was hotly engaged. 

Meanwhile the 31st Punjaub Infantry, who had 
advanced under Colonel O'Bryen on the right, 
were exposed to a severe fire from a rocky ridge on 
their flank. Their attack was directed against a 
great mass of boulders, some of them of enormous 
size, which were tenaciously held by the enemy. 
The fighting soon became close. The two advanced 
companies were engaged at a distance of under 100 
yards. Besides this the cross fire from their right 
flank added to their difficulties. In such a position 
the presence of Colonel 0'Br3'en was invaluable. 
Moving smftl}^ from point to point, he directed the 
fire and animated the spirit of the men, who were 
devoted to him. It was not long before the enemy's 
marksmen began to take aim at this prominent 
figure. But for a considerable period, although 
bullets struck the ground evei-}^vhere around him, 
he remained unhurt. At last, however, he was shot 


through the body, and carried mortally wounded 
from the action. 

I pause to consider for a moment the conditions, 
and circumstances, by which the pursuit of a miU- 
tary career differs from all others. In pohtical hfe, 
in art, in engineering, the man with talents who 
behaves with \\isdom may steadily improve his 
position in the world. If he makes no mistakes he 
will probably achieve success. But the soldier is 
more dependent upon external influences. The 
only way he can hope to rise above the others, is 
by risking his life in frequent campaigns. AU his 
fortunes, whatever they may be, all his position and 
weight in the world, all his accumulated capital, 
as it were, must be staked afresh each time he goes 
into action. He may have seen twenty engage- 
ments, and be covered with decorations and medals. 
He may be marked as a rising soldier. And yet each 
time he comes under fire his chances of being killed 
are as great as, and perhaps greater than, those of 
the youngest subaltern, whose luck is fresh. The 
statesman, who has put his power to the test, and 
made a great miscalculation, may yet retrieve his 
fortunes. But the indiscriminating bullet settles 
everything. As the poet somewhat grimly has it : — 

Stone-dead hath no better. 

Colonel O'Bryen had been specially selected, 
while stiU a young man, for the command of a bat- 
talion. He had made several campaigns. .Already 
he had passed through the drudgery of the lower 
ranks of the service, and aU the bigger prizes of the 


military profession appeared in view : and though 
the death in action of a colonel at the head of his 
regiment is as fine an end as a soldier can desire, it 
is mournful to record the abrupt termination of an 
honourable career at a point when it might have 
been of much value to the State. 

The pressure now became so strong along the 
whole line that the brigadier, fearing that the troops 
might get seriously involved, ordered the withdrawal 
to commence. The village was however burning, 
and the enemy, who had also suffered severely from 
the close fighting, did not follow up with their usual 
vigour. The battery advanced to within 600 yards 
of the enemy's line, and opened a rapid fire of shrap- 
nel to clear those spurs that commanded the line of 
retirement. The shells screamed over the heads 
of the West Kent Regiment, who were now clear of 
the hills and in front of the guns, and burst in Httle 
white puffs of smoke along the crest of the ridge, 
tearing up the ground into a thick cloud of dust by 
the hundreds of bullets they contained. 

A continuous stream of doolies and stretchers 
commenced to flow from the fighting line. Soon all 
available conveyances were exhausted, and the 
bodies of the wounded had to be carried over the 
rough ground in the arms of their comrades — a very 
painful process, which extorted many a groan from 
the suffering men. At length the withdrawal was 
completed, and the brigade returned to camp. The 
presence of the cavalry, who covered the rear, de- 
terred the enemy from leaving the hills. 

Riding back, I observed a gruesome sight. At 


the head of the column of dooHes and stretchers 
were the bodies of the killed, each tied with cords 
upon a mule. Their heads dangled on one side and 
their legs on the other. The long black hair of the 
Sikhs, which streamed down to the ground, and was 
draggled with dust and blood, imparted a hideous 
aspect to these figuras. There was no other way, 
however, and it was better than leaving their re- 
mains to be insultfed and defiled by the savages with 
whom we were fighting. At the entrance to the 
camp a large group of surgeons — their sleeves rolled 
up — awaited the wounded. Two operating tables, 
made of medical boxes, and covered with water- 
proof sheets, were also prepared. There is a side to 
warfare browner than khaid. 

The casualties in the attack upon Agrah were as 
follows : — 

British Officers. 
Killed — Lieut. -Col. J. L. O'Bryen, 31st Punjaub Infantry. 

„ 2nd Lieut. W. C. Browne-Clayton, Royal West Kent. 
Wounded severely — Lieutenant H. Isacke, Royal West Kent. 

,, ,, „ E. B. Peacock, 31st Punjaub In- 

Wounded slightly — INIajor W. G. B. Western, ^ 

Captain R. C. Styles, [-Roysl West Kent. 
„ „ „ N. H. S. Lowe, I 

„ „ 2nd Lieut. F. A. Jackson,-' 

British Soldiers. 

Killed. Wounded. 

Royal West Kent 3 20 

Native Ranks. 

Killtd. Wounded. 

Guides Caralry 4 

31st Punjaub Infantry .... 7 15 

38th Dogras 4 

Total casualties, 61. 


As soon as Sir Bindon Blood, at his camp on the 
Panjkora, received the news of the sharp fighting of 
the 30th/^ he decided to proceed himself to Inayat 
Kila Vvith reinforcements. He arrived on the 2nd 
October, bringing No. 8 ]\Iountain Battery ; a wing 
of the 24th Punjaub Infantry ; and two troops of 
the Guides Cavalry ; and having also sent orders 
for the Highland Light Infantr^^ and four guns of 
the loth Field Battery to follow him at once. He 
was determined to make a fresh attack on Agrah, 
and bum the village of Gat, which had only been 
partial!}^ destroyed. And this attack was fixed for 
the 5th. By that date the big 12-pounder gmis of 
the Field Battery were to have arrived, and the fire 
of fourteen pieces would have been concentrated on 
the enemy's position. Every one was anxious to 
carry matters to a conclusion with the tribesmen 
at all costs. 

On the 3rd, the force was ordered to take and 
bum the village of Badelai, against which, it may 
be remembered, the Buffs had advanced on the i6th, 
and from which they had been recalled in a hurry to 
support the 35th Sikhs. The attack and destruc- 
tion of the village presented no new features ; the 
tribesmen offered little resistance, and retired before 

* After the action of the 30th of September, Lieut. -Colonel 
McRae.. of the 45th Sildis, was sent up to command the 31st 
Punjaub Infantry in the place of Lieut. -Colonel 0'Br>^en, and I was 
myself attached as a temporary measure to fill another of the 
vacancies. This is, I beUeve, the first time a British Cavalry 
officer has been attached to a native infantry regiment. After 
the kindness and courtesy with which I was treated, I can only 
hope it will not be the last. 


the troops. But as soon as the brigade began its 
homeward march, they appeared in much larger 
numbers than had hitherto been seen. As the 
cavalry could not work among the nullahs and 
the broken ground, the enemy advanced boldly into 
the plain. In a great crescent, nearly four miles 
long, they followed the retiring troops. A brisk 
skirmish began at about 800 yards. Both batteries 
came into action, each firing about 90 shells. The 
Royal West Kent Regiment made good shooting 
with their Lee-Metford rifles. All the battahons of 
the brigade were engaged. The enemy, whose 
strength was estimated to be over 3000, lost heavily, 
and drew off at 2.30, when the force returned to 
camp. Sir Bindon Blood and his staff watched the 
operations and reconnoitred the vaUey. The casu- 
alties were as follows : — 

Royal West Kent — dangerously wounded, i. 
Guides Cavalry — wounded, 2. 
31st Punjaub Infantry — killed, i ; wounded, 5. 
Guides Infantry — wounded, 3. 
38th Dogras — killed, i ; wounded, 3. 
Total casualties, 16. 

The next day the Highland Light Infantry and 
the field guns arrived. The former marched in over 
700 strong, and made a fine appearance. They 
were nearly equal in numbers to any two battalions 
in the brigade. Sickness and war soon reduce the 
fighting strength. The guns had accomplished a 
great feat in getting over the difficult and roadless 
country. They had had to make their own track, 
and in many places the guns had been drawn by 


hand. The loth Field Battery had thus gone sixty 
miles further into the hill country than any other 
wheeled traffic. They had quite a reception when 
they arrived. The whole camp turned out to look 
with satisfaction on the long polished tubes, which 
could throw twelve pounds a thousand yards further 
than the mountain guns could throw seven. They 
were, however, not destined to display their power. 
The Mamunds had again sued for peace. They 
were weary of the struggle. Their valley was deso- 
late. The season of sowing the autumn crops ap- 
proached. The arrival of reinforcements convinced 
them that the , Government were determined to get 
their terms. Major Deane came up himself to 
conduct the negotiations. J^Ieanwhile all important 
operations were suspended, though the foraging 
and "sniping'' continued as usual. 

The force was now large enough for two brigades 
to be formed, and on the arrival of Brigadier-Gen- 
eral Meiklejohn it was reconstituted as follows : — 

isf Brigade. 
Commanding — Brigadier-General Meiklejohn, C.B., C.M.G. 
Highland Light Infantry. 
31st Punjaub Infantry. 
4 Cos. 24th Punjaub Infantry, 
loth Field Battery. 
No. 7 British Mountain Battery. 

2nd Brigade. 
Commanding — Brigadier-General Jeffreys, C.B. 
The Royal West Kent. 
38th Dogras. 
Guides Infantry. 
No. 8 Mountain Battery. 
The Guides Cavalry. 


The camp was greatly extended and covered a 
large area of ground. In the evenings, the mam 
street presented an animated appearance. Before 
the sun went down, the officers of the different 
regiments, distinguished by their brightly-coloured 
field caps, vv^ould assemble to listen to the pipes of 
the Scottish Infantry, or stroll up and down dis- 
cussing the events of the day and speculating on the 
chances of the morrow. As the clear atmosphere of 
the valley became darkened by the shadows of the 
night, a,nd the colours of the hills faded into an 
uniform black, the groups would gather round the 
various mess tents, and \rith vermuth, cigarettes 
and conversation pass away the pleasant half-hour 
before dinner and " sniping" began. 

I would that it ^vere in my power to convey to 
the reader, who has not had the fortune to live with 
troops on service, some just appreciation of the 
compensations of war. The healthy, open-air life, 
the \avid incidents, the excitement, not only of 
realisation, but of anticipation, the generous and 
cheer\^ friendships, the chances of distinction which 
are open to aU, invest life with keener interests and 
rarer pleasures. The uncertainty and importance 
of the present, reduce the past and future to com- 
parative insignificance, and clear the mind of minor 
worries. And when all is over, memories remain, 
which fev/ men do not hold precious. As to the 
hardships, these though severe may be endured. 
Ascetics and recluses have in their endeavours to 
look beyond the grave suffered worse things. Nor wiU 
the soldier in the pursuit of fame and the enjo3mient 


of the pleasures of war, be exposed to greater dis- 
comforts than Diogenes in his tub, or the Trappists 
in their monastery. Besides all this, his chances of 
learning about the next world are infinitely greater. 
And yet, when all has been said, we are confronted 
with a mournful but stubborn fact. In this con- 
trary life, so prosaic is the mind of man, so material 
his soul, so poor his spirit, that there is no one who 
hcLS been six months on active service who is not 
delighted to get safe home again, to the comfortable 
monotonies of peace. 




" Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum." 


Progress of the Negotiations — Cavalry Sldrmish, 6th 
October — General Resume of Cavalry Work 
throughout the Campaign — The Neglect of British 
Cavalry— Departure of the R.W.K.— Health of 
British Infantry — Jar, 9th October — " Sniping " 
— A Typical Night — Across the Panjkora. 

THE negotiations of the Mamunds had this time 
opened under more propitious circumstances. 
The tribesmen were convinced by the arrival of the 
large reinforcements that the Government v/ere in 
earnest. The return of " the big general," as they 
called Sir Bindon Blood, to distinguish him from 
the brigadiers, impressed them with the fact that 
the operations would be at once renewed, if they 
continued recalcitrant. They had still a few villages 
unbuiTied, and these they were anxious to save. 
Besides, they disliked the look of the long topes, or 
field guns, of whose powers they were uncertain. 
They therefore displayed a much more humble 


On the other hand, every one in the force had 
reahsed that there were " more kicks than ha'pence " 
to be got out of the Mamund Valley. All the vil- 
lages in the plain had been destroyed. Only a few 
of those in the hollows of the hills remained. To 
these the enemy had retired. In Arrian's History 
of Alexander's Conquests we read the following pas- 
sage : " The men in Bazira [Bazira is the same as 
Bajaur], despairing of their own affairs, abandoned 
the city . . . and fled to the rock, as the other 
barbarians were doing. For all the inhabitants 
deserted the cities, and began to fly to the rock 
which is in their land." Then it was that Alex- 
ander's difficulties began. Nor need we wonder, 
when the historian gravely asserts that " so stupen- 
dous is the rock in this land . . . that it was found 
impregnable even by Heracles, the son of Zeus." 
Thus history repeats itself, and the people of Bajaur 
their tactics. There was, however, no doubt as to 
the abihty of the brigades to take and bum any 
village they might select. At the same time it was 
certain that they would encounter relays of Afghan 
tribesmen, and regular soldiers from the Amir's 
army, and that they would lose officers and men in 
the operation. The matter had to be carried to a 
conclusion at whatever cost, but the sooner the end 
was reached, the better. 

But in spite of the auguries of peace, the foraging 
parties were usually fired upon, and this furnished 
several opportunities for the display of the value of 
the cavalry. I shall avail myself of the occasion to 
review the performances of the mounted arm during 


the operations. As soon as the brigades entered 
Bajaur, the nth Bengal Lancers were employed 
more and more in that legitimate duty of cavalry — 
reconnaissance. IMajor Beatson made daily expedi- 
tions towards the various valleys and passes about 
which information was needed. This use of cavalry 
is an entirely new one on the frontier — it having been 
thought that it was dangerous to employ them in 
this way. Though horsemen need good ground to 
fight on to advantage, they can easily move over 
any country, however broken, and where they are 
boldly used, can collect as much information as is 

Reconnaissance is by no means the only oppor- 
tunity for cavalry employment on the frontier. 
They are as formidable in offensive tactics as they 
are useful in collecting intelligence. 

The task which is usuaJly confided to them in 
these mountain actions is to protect one of the flanks. 
The ground hardly ever admits of charging in any 
formation, and it is necessary for the men to use 
their carbines. On 30th September the cavalry- 
were so employed. On the left of the hostile posi- 
tion was a wide valley full of scrubby trees, and 
stone walls, and occupied by large numbers of the 
enemy. Had these tribesmen been able to debouch 
from this valley, they would have fallen on the flank 
of the brigade, and the situation would have become 
one of danger. For five hours two weak squadrons 
of the Guides Cavalry were sufficient to hold them 
in check. 

The methods they employed are worth noticing. 


Little groups of six or seven men were dismounted, 
and these with their carbines repUed to the enemy's 
fire. Other Httle groups of mounted men remained 
concealed in nullahs or hollows, or behind obstacles. 
Whenever the enemy tried to rush one of the dis- 
mounted parties, and to do so advanced from the 
bad ground, the mounted patrols galloped forward 
and chased them back to cover. The terror that 
these tribesmen have of cavalry contrasts with 
their general character. It was a beautiful display 
of cavalry tactics in this kind of warfare, and, con- 
sidering the enormous numbers of the enemy, who 
were thus kept from participating in the main 
action, it demonstrated the power and value of the 
mounted arm v/ith convincing force. 

On the 6th of October, I witnessed some very 
similar work, though on a smaller scale. A squadron 
was engaged in covering the operations of a forag- 
ing party. A line of pa.trols, moving rapidly about, 
presented difficult targets to the enemy's sharp- 
shooters. I found the remainder of the squadron 
dismounted in rear of a large bank of stones. 
Twenty sowars with their carbines were engaged in 
firing at the enemy, who had occupied a morcha — 
a small stone fort — some 300 yards away. Desul- 
tory skirmishing continued for some time, shots 
being fired from the hills, half a mile away, as well 
as from the morcha. Bullets kept falling near the 
bank, but the cover it afforded was good and no one 
was hurt. At length word was brought that the 
foraging was finished and that the squadron was to 
retire under cover of the infantry. Now came a 


moment of some excitement. The officer in com- 
mand knew well that the instant his men were 
mounted they would be fired at from every point 
which the enemy held. He ordered the first troop 
to mount, and the second to cover the retirement. 
The men scrambled into their saddles, and spread- 
ing out into an extended line cantered away towards 
a hollow about 300 yards distant. Immediately 
there was an outburst of firing. The dust rose in 
spurts near the horsemen, and the bullets whistled 
about their ears. No one was however hit. Mean- 
while, the remaining troop had been keeping up a 
rapid fire on the enemy to cover their retirement. 
It now became their turn to go. Firing a parting 
volley the men ran to their horses, mounted, and 
followed the first troop at a hand-gallop, extending 
into a long line as they did so. Again the enemy 
opened fire, and again the dusty ground showed 
that the bullets were well directed. Again, how- 
ever, nobody was hurt, and the sowars reached the 
hoUow, laughing and talking in high glee. The 
morning's skirmish had, nevertheless, cost the 
squadron a man and a horse, both severely wounded. 
Such affairs as these were of almost daily occur- 
rence during the time that the 2nd Brigade occupied 
the camp at Inayat Kila. They were of the greatest 
value in training the soldiers. The Guides Cavalry 
know all there is to know of frontier war, but there 
are many other regiments who would be made 
infinitely more powerful fighting organisations 
if they were afforded the opportunity for such 


The great feature which the v/ar of 1897 on the 
Indian Frontier has displayed is the extraordinary 
value of cavalry. At Shabkadr a charge of the 
13th Bengal Lancers was more than successful. In 
the Swat Valley, during the relief of Chakdara, the 
Guides Cavalry and nth Bengal Lancers inflicted 
the most terrible loss on the enemy. To quote the 
words of Sir Bindon Blood's official report to the 
Adjutant-General, these regiments, " eager for 
vengeance, pursued, cut up and speared them in 
every direction, leaving their bodies thickly strewn 
over the fields." Again, after the action of Lan- 
dakai, the cavalry made a most vigorous pursuit 
and killed large numbers of the enemy. While I 
was v,ith the i\Ialakand Field Force, I was a witness 
of the constant employment of the cavalry, and was 
several times informed by general officers that they 
would gladly have a larger number at their disposal. 
The reader may recall some of the numerous in- 
stances which these pages have recorded of cavalry 
work. On the morning of the 15th September, it 
was the cavalry who Vv^ere able to catch up the 
enemy before they could reach the hills, and take 
some revenge for the losses of the night. In the 
action of the i6th, the charge of Captain Cole's 
squadron brought the whole attack of the enemy 
to a standstill, and enabled the infantry by their 
fire to convert the hesitation of the tribesmen into 
a retreat. Indeed, in every fight in the IMamund 
Valley, the cavalry v/ere the first in, and the last 
out. In the official despatches Sir Bindon Blood 
thus alludes to the work of the cavalry : — 


" I would now wish to invite attention to the 
invaluable nature of the services rendered by the 
cavalry. At Xawagai, three squadrons of the nth 
Bengal Lancers swept the country everywhere that 
cavalry could go, carrjdng out reconnaissances, 
protecting signalling parties and watching every 
movement of the enemy. In the Mamund Valley 
a squadron of the same regiment, under Captain 
E. H. Cole, took part in every engagement that 
occurred while they were there, establishing such a 
reputation that the enemy, even when in greatly 
superior numbers, never dared to face them in the 
open. Afterwards, when Captain Cole and his men 
left the Mamund VaUey, the Guides Cavalry, under 
Lieut. -Col. Adams, being in greater strength, acted 
still more effectually in the same manner, sho\x,ing 
tactical skiU of a high order, combined with con- 
spicuous gallantry." — Official Despatches. From 
Gazette of India, 3rd December, 1897. 

There has been a boom, in cavalr^^ But one sec- 
tion, and that the most important, has been deprived 
of its share in the good fortune. The authorities 
have steadily refused to allow any British cavalry 
to cross the frontier. Of course this is defended on 
the ground of expense. " British cavalry costs so 
much," it is said, " and natives do the work just as 
well." " Better," say some. But it is a poor kind 
of economy thus to discourage a most expensive and 
important branch of the service. The ambition 
that a young officer entering the army ought to set 
before him, is to lead his own men in action. This 
ought to inspire his life, and animate his effort. 


" Stables " will no longer be dull, when he realises 
that on the fitness of his horses, his life and honour 
may one day depend. If he thinks that his men 
may soon be asked to. stand beside him at a pinch, 
he will no longer be bored by their interests and 
affairs. But when he realises that all is empty dis- 
play, and that his regiment is a sword too costly to 
be drawn, he naturally loses keenness and betakes 
himself to polo as a consolation. It is a good one. 

It was my fortune to meet many young men in 
frontier regiments, both cavalry and infantry, who 
had already served in three, and even four, cam- 
paigns. Daring, intelligent and capable, they are 
proofs of the value of their training, and are fit to 
lead their men under any conditions, and in any 
country. Subalterns in British cavalry regiments 
do occasionally manage to see a little active service 
as transport officers, signalling officers, war corre- 
spondents, or on the staff; but to lead in the field 
the men they have trained in peace, is a possibility 
which is never worth contemplating. To the young 
man who wants to enjoy himself, to spend a few 
years agreeably in a mihtary companionship, to 
have an occupation — the British cavalry wiU be 
suited. But to the youth who means to make 
himself a professional soldier, an expert in war, a 
specialist in practical tactics, who desires a hard life 
of adventure and a true comradeship in arms, I 
would recommend the choice of some regiment on 
the frontier, Hke those fine ones I have seen, the 
Guides and the nth Bengal Lancers. 

I am aware that those who criticise an existing 


state of things ought to be prepared with some 
constructive legislation which would remedy the 
evils they denounce. Though it is unlikely that 
the Government of India will take my advice, either 
wholly or in good part, I hereby exhort them to 
quit the folly of a " penny wise " poHcy, and to 
adhere consistently to the principles of employing 
British and native troops in India in a regular 
proportiori. That is to say, that when two native 
cavalry regiments have been sent on service across 
the frontier, the third cavalry regiment so sent shall 
be British. 

Besides this, in order to give cavalry officers as 
many opportunities of seeing active service as 
possible, subalterns should be allowed to volunteer 
for emergency employment v/ith native cavalry. I 
have talked to several officers who command native 
cavalry regiments, and they tell me that such an 
arrangement v/ouid work excellently, and that, as 
they are always short of officers, it would supply 
a want. I would suggest that subalterns should, 
with the approval of their colonels, be attached to 
the native regiment, and after passing in Hindu- 
stani and being reported as quahfied to serve 
with the native troops, be considered available for 
employment as described. I shall be told there are 
financial difficulties. I do not believe this. There 
are plenty of cavalry subalterns whose eagerness 
to see service is so strong, that they would submit 
to any arrangement that the rapacity of Govern- 
ment might impose. Indeed there is no restson 
that an actual economy should not be effected. 


The sums of money that the Indian Government 
offer, as rewards for officers who can speak Hin- 
dustani, have not hitherto tempted many cavalry 
officers to make a study of the language. Here is 
an incentive, more powerful and costing nothing. 

To be technical is, I am aware, a serious offence, 
and I reaUse that if this book ever obtained so evil 
a reputation it would be shunned, as the House of 
Commons is shunned on a Service night. I have 
strayed far away from the Malakand Field Force 
into the tangled paths of mihtary controversy, and 
I must beg the reader to forgive, as he wiU surely 
forget, what has been written. 

The fighting described in the last chapter, and 
the continual drain of disease, had again filled the 
field hospitals, and in order to preserve the mobihty 
of the force, it was decided to send all sick and 
wounded down to the base at once. The journey — 
over 100 miles by road — would take nearly a fort- 
night, and the jolting and heat make such an ex- 
perience a painful and weary one to injured men. 
But the stem necessities of war render these things 
inevitable, and the desire of the men to get nearer 
home soothes much of their suffering. The convoy 
of sick and wounded was to be escorted as far as 
the Panjkora River by the Royal West Kent, who 
were themselves in need of some recuperation. To 
campaign in India without tents is always a trial to 
a British regiment ; and when it is moved to the 
front from some unhealthy station like Peshawar, 
Delhi, or Mian Mir, and the men are saturated with 
fever and weakened by the summer heats, the sick 


list becomes long and serious. Typhoid from 
drinking surface water, and the other various kinds 
of fever which follow exposure to the heats of the 
day or the chills of the night, soon take a hundred 
men from the fighting strength, and the general 
of an Indian frontier force has to watch with equal 
care the movements of the enemy and the fluctua- 
tions of the hospital returns. As soon, therefore, 
as Sir Bindon Blood saw that the Mamunds were 
desirous of peace, . and that no further operations 
against them were probable, he sent one of his 
British regiments to their tents near the Panjkora. 

About sixty wounded men from the actions of 
30th September and 3rd October, and the same 
number of sick, formed the bulk of the convoy. 
The sUght cases are carried on camels, in cradles 
made by cutting a native bedstead in two, and 
called " Kajawas." The more serious cases are 
carried in doolies or litters, protected from the 
sun by white curtains, and borne by four natives. 
Those who are weU enough ride on mules. The 
infantry escort is disposed along the line with 
every precaution that can be suggested, but the 
danger of an attack upon the long straggling string 
of doolies and animals in difficult and broken 
ground is a very real and terrible one. 

The cheeriness and patience of the wounded 
men exceeds belief. Perhaps it is due to a realisa- 
tion of the proximity in which they have stood to 
death ; perhaps partly to that feeling of rehef with 
which a man turns for a spell from war to peace. 
In any case it is remarkable. A poor fellow — a 

private in the Buffs — was hit at Zagai, and had 
Ms arm amputated at the shoulder. I expressed 
my sympathy, and he rephed, philosophically : 
" You can't make omelettes without breaking eggs," 
and after a pause added, with much satisfaction, 
" The regiment did well that day." He came of a 
fighting stock, but I could not help speculating on 
the possible future which awaited him. Discharge 
from the service as medically unfit, some miserable 
pension insufficient to command any pleasures but 
those of drink, a loafer's hfe, and a pauper's grave. 
Perhaps the regiment — the officers, that is to say 
— would succeed in getting him work, and would 
from their own resources supplement his pension. 
But what a wTetched and discreditable system is 
that, by which the richest nation in the world 
neglects the soldiers who have served it well, and 
which leaves to newspaper philanthropy, to local 
institutions, and to private charity, a burden which 
ought to be proudly borne by the State. 

Starting at six, the column reached Jar, a march 
of eight miles, at about ten o'clock. Here we were 
joined by a wing of the 24th Punjaub Infantry, 
who were coming up to reheve the Royal West 
Kents. The camp at Jar has the disadvantage of 
being commanded by a hill to the north, and the 
Salarzais, another pestilent tribe, whose name alone 
is an infliction, delight to show their valour by firing 
at the troops during the night. Of course this could 
be prevented by moving the camp out of range of 
this hill. But then, unfortunately, it would be 
commanded by another hill to the south, from 


which the Shamozai section of the Utman Khels 
— to whom my former remarks also apply — would 
be able to amuse themselves. The inconvenience 
of the situation had therefore to be faced. 

We had not been long in camp before the eldest 
son of the Khan of Jar, who had been compara- 
tively loyal during the operations, came to inform 
the colonel in command that there would be "snip- 
ing " that night. Certain evil men, he said, had 
declared their intention of destroying the force, but 
he, the heir-apparent to the Khanate of Jar, and 
the ally of the Empress, would protect us. Four 
pickets of his 0%^!! regular army should watch the 
camp, that our slum.bers might not be disturbed, 
and when challenged by the sentries, they would 
reply, " chokidar " (watchman). This all seemed 
very satisfactory, but we entrenched ourselves as 
usual, not, as we explained, because we doubted 
our protector's powers or inclinations, but merely 
as a matter of form. 

At midnight precisely, the camp was awakened 
by a dozen shots in rapid succession. The khan's 
pickets could be heard expostulating \\ith the 
enemy, who replied by jeers and bitter remarks. 

The firing continued for an hour, when the 
" snipers," having satisfied their honour, reUeved 
their feelings and expended their cartridges, went 
away rejoicing. The troops throughout remained 
silent, and vouchsafed no reply. 

It may seem difricult to believe that fifty bullets 
could fall in a camp, only lOO yards square — 
crowded with animals and men — without any other 

result than to hit a single mule in the tail. Such 
was, however, the fact. This shows of what value, 
a little active service is to the soldier. The first 
time he is under fire, he imagines liimself to be in 
great danger. He thinks that every bullet is going 
to hit him, and that every shot is aimed at him. 
Assuredly he will be killed in a moment. If he 
goes through this ordeal once or twice, he begins to 
get some idea of the odds in his favour. He has 
heard lots of bullets and they have not hurt him. 
He will get home safely to his tea this evening, 
just as he did the last time. He becomes a very 
much more effective fighting machine. 

From a military point of view, the perpetual 
frontier wars in one corner or other of the Empire 
are of the greatest value. This fact may one day 
be proved, should our soldiers ever be brought into 
contact with some peace-trained, conscript ai"my, 
in anything like equal numbers. 

Though the firing produced very little effect on 
the troops — most of whom had been through the 
experience several times before — it was a severe 
trial to the wounded, whose nerves, shattered by 
pain and weakness, were unable to bear the strain. 
The surgeon in charge — Major Tyrrell — told me 
that the poor fellows quivered at every shot as if 
in anticipation of a blow. A bullet in the leg will 
make a brave man a coward. A blow on the 
head will make a wise man a fool. Indeed I have 
read that a sufficiency of absinthe can make a 
good man a knave. The triumph of mind over 
matter does not seem to be quite complete as yet. 


1 saw a strange thing happen, while the firing 
was going on, which may amuse those who take an 
interest in the habits and development of animals. 
Just in front of my tent, which was open, was 
a clear space, occupied by a flock of goats and 
sheep. The brilliant moonlight made everything 
plainly visible. Every time a bullet whistled over 
them or struck the ground near, they ducked and 
bobbed in evident terror. An officer, who also 
noticed this, told me it was the first time they had 
been under fire ; and I have been wondering ever 
since, whether tliis explains their fear, or makes it 
more inexplicable. 

I have devoted a good deal in this chapter to the 
account of the " sniping " at Jar on the night of the 
9th of October, and, perhaps, a critic may inquire, 
why so much should be written about so common 
an incident. It is, however, because this night 
firing is so common a feature, that I feel no picture 
of the war on the Indian frontier would be complete 
without some account of it. 

The next da}^ we crossed the Panjkora River, 
and I started to ride down the line of communica- 
tions to the base at Nowshera. At each stage 
some of the comforts of civilisation and peace re- 
appeared. At Panjkora we touched the telegraph 
v/ire ; at Sarai were fresh potatoes ; ice was to be 
had at Chakdara ; a comfortable bed at the Mala- 
kand ; and at length, at Nowshera, the railway. 
But how Httle these things matter after all. When 
they are at hand, they seem indispensable, but when 
they cannot be obtained, they are hardly missed. A 


little plain food, and a philosophic temperament, 
are the only necessities of life. 

I shall not take the reader farther from the scene 
of action. He is free and his imagination may 
lead him back to the highland valleys, where he 
may continue for a space among camps and men, 
and observe the conclusion of the drama. 



" Their eyes were sunken and weary 
With a sort of listless woe, 
And they looked from their desolate eyrie 
Over the plains below. 

" Two had wounds from a sabre, 
And one from an Enfield ball." 

" Rajpoot Rebels," Lyall. 

Negotiations wdth the Mamunds — Surrender of Rifles 
— The Durbar — The Pohtical Officers — The Last 
of Inayat Kila — Matashah — Submission of the 
Sala.rzais — The Sikh and the Pathan : A Com- 
parison — The Return to Malakand. 

AT last the negotiations with the Mamunds began 
/~\to reach a conclusion. The tribe were really 
desirous of peace, and prepared to make any sacri- 
fices to induce the brigades to leave the valley. The 
Khan of Khar now proved of valuable assistance. 
He consistently urged them to make peace with the 
Sirkar, and assured them that the troops would not 
go away until they had their rifles back. Finally 
the Mamunds said they would get the rifles. But 
the path of repentance was a stony one. On the 


very night that the tribesmen decided for peace at 
any price, a thousand warUke Afghans, spoihng for 
a fight, arrived from the Kunar Valley, on the other 
side of the mountains, and announced their intention 
of attacking the camp at once. The Mamunds ex- 
postulated with them. The retainers of the Khan 
of Khar implored them not to be so rash. In the 
end these unwelcome allies were persuaded to depstrt. 
But that night the camp was warned that an attack 
was probable. The inlying pickets were accordingly 
doubled, and every man slept in his clothes, so as to 
be ready. The pathos of the situation was pro- 
vided by the fact, that the Mamunds were guarding 
us from our enemies. The wretched tribe, rather 
than face a renewal of hostilities, had posted pickets 
all round the camp to drive away " snipers " and 
other assailants. Their sincerity was beyond 

The next day the first instalment of rifles was 
surrendered. Fifteen Martini-Henr^-s taken on the 
1 6th from the 35th Sikhs were brought into camp, 
by the Khan of Khar's men, and deposited in front 
of the general's tent. Nearly all were hacked and 
marked by sword cuts, showing that their owners, 
the Sikhs, had perished fighting to the last. Perhaps, 
these firearms had cost more in blood and treasure 
than any others ever made. The remainder of the 
twenty-one were promised later, and have since all 
been surrendered. But the rifles as they lay on the 
ground were a bitter comment on the economic 
aspect of the " Forward Pohcy." These tribes have 
nothing to surrender but their arms. To extort 


these few, had taken a month, had cost many Hves, 
and thousands of pounds. It had been as bad a 
bargain as was ever made. People talk gUbly of 
" the total disarmament of the frontier tribes " as 
being the obvious policy. No doubt such a result 
would be most desirable. But to obtain it would 
be as painful and as tedious an undertaking, as to 
extract the stings of a swarm of hornets, with naked 

After the surrender of the rifles, the discussion of 
terms proceeded with smoothness. Full jirgahs 
were sent to the camp from the tribe, and gradually 
a definite understanding was reached. The tribes- 
men bewailed the losses they had sustained. Why, 
they asked, had the Sirkar visited them so heavily ? 
Why, replied Major Deane, had they broken the 
peace and attacked the camp ? The elders of the 
tribe, following the practice of all communities, 
threw the blame on their " young men." These 
had done the evil, they declared. All had paid the 
penalty. At length definite terms were agreed to, 
and a full durbar was arranged for the nth of the 
month for their ratification. 

Accordingly on that date, at about one o'clock in 
the afternoon, a large and representative jirgah of 
Mamunds, accompanied by the Khans of Khar, 
Jar and Nawagai, arrived at the village of Nawa Kila, 
about half a mile from the camp. At three o'clock 
Sir Bindon Blood, with Major Deane, Chief Political 
Officer ; Mr. Davis, Assistant Political Officer ; most 
of the Headquarters staff, and a few other officers, 
started, escorted by a troop of the Guides Cavalry, 


for the durbar. The general on arrival shook hands 
\^ith the friendly khans, much to their satisfaction, 
and took a seat which had been provided. The 
tribesmen formed three sides of a square. The 
friendly khans were on the left \vith their retainers. 
The Mamund jirgahs filled two other sides. Sir 
Bindon Blood, \\i\h ^lajor Deane on his left and 
his officers around him, occupied the fourth 

Then the Mamunds solemnly tendered their sub- 
mission. They expressed their deep regret at their 
action, and deplored the disasters that had befallen 
them. They declared, they had only fought because 
they feared annexation. They agreed to expel the 
followers of Umra Khan from the valley. They gave 
security for the rifles that had not yet been sur- 
rendered. They were then informed that as they 
had suffered severe punishment and had submitted, 
the Sirkar would exact no fine or further penalty 
from them. At this they showed signs of gratifica- 
tion. The durbar, which had lasted fifteen min- 
utes, was ended by the whole of the tribesmen 
swearing with uplifted hands to adhere to the 
terms and keep the peace. They were then dis- 

The losses sustained by the Mamunds in the 
fighting were ascertained to be 350 killed, besides 
the wounded, with whom the hill villages were all 
crowded, and who probably amounted to 700 or 
800. This estimate takes no account of the casual- 
ties among the transfrontier tribesmen, which were 
presumably considerable, but regarding which no 


reliable information could be obtained. Sir Bindon 
Blood offered them medical aid for their wounded, 
but this they declined. They could not understand 
the motive, and feared a stratagem. What the 
sufferings of these wretched men must have been, 
without antiseptics or anaesthetics, is terrible to 
think of. Perhaps, however, vigorous constitutions 
and the keen air of the mountains were Nature's 

Thus the episode of the Mamund Valley came to 
an end. On the morning of the 12th, the troops 
moved out of the camp at Inayat Kila for the last 
time, and the long line of men, guns and transport 
animals, trailed slowly away across the plain of 
Khar. The tribesmen gathered on the hills to 
watch the departure of their enemies, but whatever 
feehngs of satisfaction they may have felt at the 
spectacle, were dissipated when they turned their 
eyes towards their valley. Not a tower, not a fort 
was to be seen. The villages were destroyed. 
The crops had been trampled down. They had lost 
heavily in killed and wounded, and the winter was 
at hand. No defiant shots pursued the retiring 
column. The ferocious Mamunds were weary of 

And as the soldiers marched away, their reflec- 
tions could not have been v/holly triumphant. For 
a month they had held Inayat Kila, and during 
that month they had been constantly fighting. 
The Mamunds were crushed. The Imperial power 
had been asserted, but the cost was hea\y. Thirty- 
one officers and 251 men had been killed and 


wounded out of a fighting force that had on no 
occasion exceeded 1200 men.* 

The main cause of this long list of casualties 
was, as I have already written, the proximity of 
the Afghan border. But it would be unjust and 
ungenerous to deny to the people of the Mamund 
Valley that reputation for courage, tactical skill 
and marksmanship, which they have so well de- 
served. During an indefinite period they had 
brawled and fought in the unpenetrated gloom of 
barbarism. At length they struck a blow at 
civilisation, and civilisation, though compelled to 
record the odious vices that the fierce light of 
scientific war exposed, will yet ungrudgingly admit 
that they are a brave and warlike race. Their 
name will live in the minds of men for some years, 
even in this busy century, and there are families in 
England who will never forget it. But perhaps the 
tribesmen, sitting sullenly on the hillsides and con- 
templating the ruin of their habitations, did not 
realise all this, or if they did, still felt regret at 

* The casualties of General Jeffrey's brigade in the Mamund 
Valley were as follows 
British Of&cers 

,, Soldiers . 
Native Officers. 
Native Soldiers 
Followers . 

Horses and mules 

Killed or died of woimds 


Killed . 


Killed . 


Killed . 











having tried conclusions with the British Raj. 
Their fame had cost them dear. Indeed, as we 
have been told, " nothing is so expensive as glory." 

The troops camped on the night of the 12th 
at Jar, and on the following day moved up the 
Salarzai Valley to Matashah. Here they remained 
for nearly a we^k. This tribe, terrified by the 
punishment of the Mamunds, made no regular 
opposition, though the camp was fired into regularly 
every night by a few hot-blooded " snipers." Several 
horses and mules were hit, and a sowar in the 
Guides Cavalry was wounded. The reconnais- 
sances in force, which were sent out daily to the 
farther end of the valley, were not resisted in any 
way, and the tribal jirgahs used every effort to 
collect the rifles which they had been ordered to " 
surrender. By the 19th all were given up, and on 
the 20th the troops moved back to Jar. There 
Sir Bindon Blood received the submission of the 
Utman Khels, who brought in the weapons de- 
manded from them, and paid a fine as an indemnity 
for attacking the Malakand and Chakdara. 

The soldiers, who were still in a fighting mood, 
watched with impatience the poUtical negotiations 
which produced so peaceful a triumph. 

All Indian miUtary commanders, from Lord 
Clive and Lord Clive's times downwards, have 
inveighed against the practice of attaching civil 
officers to field forces. It has been said, fre- 
quently with truth, that they hamper the miUtary 
operations, and by interfering with the generals, in- 
fuse a spirit of vacillation into the plans. Although 


the political officers of the Malakand Field Force 
were always personally popular with their mihtary 
comrades, there were many who criticised their 
official actions, and disapproved of their presence. 
The duties of the civil officers, in a campaign, are 
twofold : firstly, to negotiate, and secondly, to 
collect information. It would seem that for the 
iirst of these duties they are indispensable. The 
difficult language and pecuhar characters of the 
tribesmen are the study of a Hfetime. A knowledge 
of the local conditions, of the power and influence 
of the khans, or other rulers of the people ; of the 
general history and traditions of the country, is a 
task which must be entirely speciahsed. Rough, 
and ready methods are excellent while the tribes 
resist, but something more is required when they 
are anxious to submit. Men are needed who 
understand the whole question, and all the details 
of the quarrel, between the natives and the Govern- 
ment, and who can in some measure appreciate 
both points of view. I do not beheve that such 
are to be found in the army. The mihtary pro- 
fession is alone sufficient to engross the attention 
of the most able and accomplished man. 

Besides this I cannot forget how many quiet 
nights the 2nd Brigade enjoyed at Inayat Kila 
when the " snipers " were driven away by the 
friendly pickets ; how many fresh eggs and water 
melons were procured, and how easily letters and 
messages were carried about the country * through 

* As correspondent of the Piorieer, I invariably availed myself 
of this method of sending the press telegrams to the telegraph 


the relations which the poUtical officers, Mr. Davis 
and Mr. Gunter, maintained, under very difficult 
circumstances, with these tribesmen, who were not 
actually fighting us. 

Respecting the second duty, it is difficult to be- 
lieve that the collection of information as to the 
numbers and intentions of the enemy v/ould not be 
better and more appropriately carried out by the 
Intelligence Department and the cavalry. Civil 
officers should not be expected to understand what 
kind of miUtary information a general requires. 
It is not their business. I am av/are that Mr. Davis 
procured the most correct intelligence about the 
great night attack at Nawagai, and thus gave ample 
warning to Sir Bindon Blood. But on the other 
hand the scanty information available about the 
Mamunds, previous to the action of the i6th, was 
the main cause of the severe loss sustained on that 
day. Besides, the incessant rumours of a night 
attack on Inayat Kila, kept the whole force in their 
boots about three nights each week. Civil officers 
should discharge diplomatic duties, and military 
officers the conduct of war. And the collection of 
information is one of the most important of miUtary 
duties. Our Pathan Sepoys, the Intelhgence Branch, 

ofifice at Panjkora, and though the route lay through twenty miles 
of the enemy's country, these messages not only never miscarried, 
but on several occasions arrived before the official despatches or 
any heliographed news. 

By similar agency the bodies of Lieutenant-Colonel O'Bryen 
and Lieutenant Browne-Clayton, killed in the attack upon Agrah 
on the 30th of September, were safely and swiftly conveyed to 
Malakand for burial. 


and an enterprising cavalry, should obtain all the 
facts that a general requires to use in his plans. 
At least the responsibiUty can thus be definitely 

On one point, however, I have no doubts. The 
political officers must be under the control of the 
General directing the operations. There must be 
no " Imperium in imperio." In a Field Force one 
man only can command — and all in it must be 
under his authority. Differences, creating difficulties 
and leading to disasters, will arise whenever the 
political officers are empowered to make arrange- 
ments with the tribesmen, without consulting and 
sometimes without even informing the man on 
whose decisions the success of the war and the 
lives of the soldiers directly depend. 

The subject is a difficult one to discuss, without 
wounding the feelings of those gallant men, who 
take all the risks of war, while the campaign lasts, 
and, when it is over, live in equal peril of their lives 
among the savage populations, whose dispositions 
they study, and whose tempers they watch. I am 
glad to have done with it. 

During the stay of the brigades in Bajaur, there 
had been several cases of desertion among the 
Afridi Sepoys. On one occasion five men of the 
24th Punjaub Infantry, who were out on picket, 
departed in a body, and taking their arms with 
them set off towards Tirah and the Khyber Pass. 
As I have recorded several instances of gaUantry 
and conduct among the Afridis and Pathans in our 
ranks, it is only fitting that the reverse of the 


medal should be shown. The reader, who may be 
interested in the characters of the subject races of 
the Empire, and of the native soldiers, on whom so 
much depends, will perhaps pardon a somewhat long 
digression on the subject of Pathans and Sikhs. 

It should not be forgotten by those who make, 
wholesale assertions of treachery and untrust- 
worthiness against the Afridi and Pathan soldiers, 
that these men are placed in a very strange and 
false position. They are asked to fight against 
their countrymen and co-religionists. On the one 
side are accumulated all the forces of fanaticism, 
patriotism and natural ties. On the other military 
associations stand alone. It is no doubt a grievous 
thing to be false to an oath of allegiance, but there * 
are other obligations not less sacred. To respect 
an oath is a duty which the individual owes to 
society. Yet, who would by his evidence send 
a brother to the gallows ? The ties of nature 
are older and take precedence of all other human 
laws. When the Pathan is invited to suppress his 
fellow-countrymen, or even to remain a spectator 
of their suppression, he finds himself in a situation 
at which, in the words of Burke, " Morality is per- 
plexed, reason staggered, and from which affrighted 
nature recoils." 

There are many on the frontier who realise these 
things, and who sympathise with the Afridi soldier 
in his dilemma. An officer of the Guides Infantry, 
of long experience and considerable distinction, 
who commands both Sikhs and Afridis, and has 
led both many times in action, writes as follows : 


" Personally, I dou't blame any Afridis who desert 
to go and defend their own country, now that we 
have invaded it, and I think it is only natural and 
proper that they should want to do so." 

Such an opinion may be taken as typical of 
the views of a great number of officers, who have 
some title to speak on the subject, as it is one on 
which their lives might at any moment depend. 

The Sikh is the guardian of the Marches. He 
was originally invented to combat the Pathan. His 
religion was designed to be diametrically opposed 
to Mahommedanism. It was a shrewd act of policy. 
Fanaticism was met by fanaticism. ReUgious 
abhorrence was added to racial hatred. The 
Pathan invaders were rolled back to the mountains, 
and the Sikhs established themselves at Lahore 
and Peshawar. The strong contrast, and much of 
the animosity, remain to-day. The Sikh wears his 
hair down to his waist ; the Pathan shaves his head. 
The Sikh drinks what he will ; the Pathan is an 
abstainer. The Sikh is burnt after death ; the 
Pathan would be thus deprived of Paradise. As 
a soldier the Pathan is a finer shot, a hardier man, 
a better marcher, especially on the hillside, and 
possibly an even more brilliant fighter. He relies 
more on instinct than education : war is in his 
blood ; he is a bom marksman, but he is dirty, 
lazy and a spendthrift. 

In the Sikh the more civilised man appears. He 
does not shoot natural^, but he learns by patient 
practice. He is not so tough as the Pathan, but he 
deUghts in feats of strength — \^Testhng, running, or 


swimming. He is a much cleaner soldier and more 
careful. He is frequently parsimonious, and always 
thrifty, and does not generally feed himself as well 
as the Pathan.* 

There are some who say that the Sikh will go 
on under circumstances which will dishearten and 
discourage his rival, and that if the latter has 
more dash he has less stamina. The assertion is 
not supported by facts. In 1895, when Lieut. - 
Colonel Battye was killed near the Panjkora River 
and the Guides were hard pressed, the Subadar of 
the Afridi company, turning to his countrymen, 
shouted : " Now, then, Afridi folk of the Corps of 
Guides, the Commanding Officer's killed, now's the 
time to charge ! " and the British officers had the 
greatest difficulty in restraining these impetuous 
soldiers from leaving their position, and rushing to 
certain death. The story recalls the speech of the 
famous cavalry colonel at the action of Tamai, 
when the squares were seen to be broken, and an 
excited and demoralised correspondent galloped 
wildly up to the squadrons, declaring that all was 
lost. " How do you mean ' all's lost ' ? Don't you 
see the loth Hussars are here ? " There are men 
in the world who derive as stern an exultation from 
the proximity of disaster and ruin as others from 
success, and who are more magnificent in defeat 
than others are in victory. Such spirits are un- 
doubtedly to be found among the Afridis and Pathans. 

♦ Indeed in some regiments the pay of very thin Sikhs is given 
them in the form of food, and they have to be carefully watched 
by their officers till they get fat and strong. 


I will quote, in concluding this discussion, the 
opinion of an old Gurkha Subadar who had seen 
much fighting. He said that he liked the Sikhs 
better, but would sooner have Afridis with him at 
a pinch than any other breed of men in India. It 
is comfortable to reflect, that both are among the 
soldiers of the Queen. 

Although there were no Gurkhas in the Mala- 
kand Field Force, it is impossible to consider 
Indian fighting races \vithout alluding to these 
wicked little men. In appearance they resemble a 
bronze Japanese. Small, active and fierce, ever 
with a cheery grin on their broad faces, they com- 
bine the dash of the Pathan wdth the discipline of 
the Sikh. They spend all their money on food, 
and, unhampered by religion, drink, smoke and 
swear like the British soldier, in whose eyes they 
find more favour than any other — as he regards 
them — breed of " niggers." They are pure mer- 
cenaries, and, while they welcome the dangers, 
they dislike the prolongation of a campaign, being 
equally eager to get back to their wives and to the 
big meat meals of peace time. 

After the Utman Khels had been induced to com- 
ply with the terms, the brigades recrossed the Panj- 
kora River, and then marching by easy stages down 
the Une of communications, returned to the Mala- 
kand. The Guides, moving back to Mardan, went 
into cantonments again, and turned in a moment 
from war to peace. The Buffs, bitterly disap- 
pointed at having lost their chance of joining 
in the Tirah expedition, remained at Malakand in 


garrison. A considerable force was retained near 
Jalala, to await the issue of the operations against 
the Afridis, and to be ready to move against the 
Bunerwals, should an expedition be necessary. 

Here we leave the Malakand Field Force. It 
may be that there is yet another chapter of its 
history which remains to be written, and that the 
fine regiments of which it is composed will, under 
their trusted commander, have other opportunities 
of playing the great game of war. If that be so, 
the reader shall decide whether the account shall 
prolong the tale I have told, or whether the task 
shall fall to another hand.* 

* It is an excellent instance of the capricious and haphazard 
manner in which honours and rewards are bestowed in the army, 
that the operations in the Mamund Valley and throughout Bajaur 
are commemorated by no distinctive clasp. The losses sustained 
by the Brigade were indisputably most severe. The result was 
successful. The conduct of the troops has been officially com- 
mended. Yet the soldiers who were engaged in all the rough 
fighting I have described in the last eight chapters have been 
excluded from any of the special clasps which have been struck. 
They share the general clasp with every man who crossed the 
frontier and with some thousands who never saw a shot fired. 



"... And thou hast talk'd 
Of salUes and retires, of trenches, tents, 
Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets, 
Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin." 

" Henry IV.," Part I., Act ii., So. 3. 

Transport — Camps — Attacks — Retirements — Emplo}'^- 
ment of Artillery — Signalling — The Dum-Dum 
Bullet — The IVlihtary Problem — The Young Soldier 
— Short Service — The Courage of the Soldier. 

IT may at first seem that a chapter wholly de- 
voted to military considerations is inappropriate 
to a book which, if it is to enjoy any measure of 
success, must be read by many unconnected with the 
army. But I remember that in these days it is 
necessary for every one, who means to be well 
informed, to have a superficial knowledge of every 
one else's business. Encouraged also by what 
Mr. Gladstone has called " the gromng miUtarism 
of the times," I hope that, avoiding technicalities, 
it may be of some general interest to glance for a 
moment at the frontier war from a purely pro- 
fessional point of \'iev/. My observations must be 
taken as applying to the theatre of the war I have 


described, but I do not doubt that many of them 
will be applicable to the whole frontier. 

The first and most important consideration is 
transport. Nobody who has not seen for himself 
can realise what a great matter this is, I well 
recall my amazement, when watching a camel con- 
voy more than a mile and a half long, escorted 
by half a battalion of infantry. I was infonned 
that it contained only two days' supplies for one 
brigade. People talk lightly of moving columns 
hither and thither, as if they were mobile groups 
of men, who had only to march about the country 
and fight the enemy wherever found, and very few 
understand that an army is a ponderous mass 
which drags painfully after it a long chain of ad- 
vanced depots, stages, rest camps, and communica- 
tions, by which it is securely fastened to a stationary 
base. In these valleys, where wheeled traffic is 
impossible, the difficulties and cost of moving sup- 
plies are enormous ; and as none, or very few, are 
to be obtained within the country, the consideration 
is paramount. Mule transport is for many reasons 
superior to camel transport. The mule moves 
faster and can traverse more difficult ground. He 
is also more hardy and keeps in better condition. 
When Sir Bindon Blood began his advance against 
the Mohmands he equipped his 2nd Brigade en- 
tirely with mules. It was thus far more mobile, 
and was available for any rapid movement that 
might become necessary. To mix the two — camels 
and mules — appears to combine the disadvantages 
of both, and destroy the superiority of either. 


I have already described the Indian service camp 
and the " sniping," without which no night across 
the frontier could be complete. I shall therefore 
only notice two points, which were previously 
omitted, as they looked suspiciously technical. As. 
the night firing is sometimes varied by more serious 
attacks, and even actual assaults and sword rushes, 
it is thought advisable to have the ditch of the 
entrenchment towards the enemy. Modem weap- 
ons notwithstanding, the ultimate appeal is to 
the bayonet, and the advantage of being on the 
higher ground is then considerable. 

When a battery forms part of the line round a 
camp, infantry soldiers should be placed between the 
guns. Artillery officers do not hke this ; but, though 
they are very good fellows, there are some things 
in which it is not well to give way to them. Every 
one is prone to over-estimate the power of his 

In the Mamund Valley aU the fighting occurred 
in capturing villages, which lay in rocky and broken 
ground in the hollows of the mountains, and were 
defended by a swarm of active riflemen. Against 
the quickly moving figures of the enemy it proved 
almost useless to fire volleys. The tribesmen would 
dart from rock to rock, exposing themselves only 
for an mstant, and before the attention of a section 
could be directed to them and the rifles aimed, the 
chance and the target would have vanished together. 
Better results were obtained by picking out good 
shots and giving them permission to fire when they 
saw their opportunity, wdthout waiting for the word 


of command. But speaking generally, infantry 
should push on to the attack with the bayonet 
without wasting much time in firing, which can 
only result in their being delayed under the fire of 
a well-posted enemy. 

After the capture and destruction of the vil- 
lage, the troops had always to return to camp, and 
a retirement became necessary. The difficulty of 
executing such an operation in the face of an active 
and numerous enemy, armed with modern rifles, 
was great. I had the opportunity of witnessing 
six of these retirements from the rear companies. 
Five were fortunate and one was disastrous, but all 
were attended with loss, and as experienced officers 
have informed me, with danger. As long as no one 
is hit everything is successful, but as soon as a few 
men are wounded, the difficulties begin. No sooner 
has a point been left — a knoll, a patch of corn, some 
rocks, or any other incident of ground — than it is 
seized by the enemy. With their excellent rifles, 
they kill or wound two or three of the retiring com- 
pany, whose somewhat close formation makes them 
a good mark. Now, in civilised war these wounded 
would be left on the ground, and matters arranged 
next day by parley. But on the frontier, where no 
quarter is asked or given, to carry away the wounded 
is a sacred duty. It is also the strenuous endeavour 
of every regiment to carry away their dead. The 
vile and horrid mutilations which the tribesmen 
inflict on all bodies that fall into their hands, and 
the insults to which they expose them, add, to un- 
philosophic minds, another terror to death. Now, it 


takes at least four men, and very often more, to carry 
away a body. Observe the result. Every man hit, 
means five rifles withdrawn from the fixing line. 
Ten men hit, puts a company out of action, as far as 
fighting power is concerned. The watchful enemy 
press. The groups of men bearing the injured are 
excellent targets. Presently the rear-guard is en- 
cumbered with wounded. Then a vigorous charge 
with swords is pushed home. Thus, a disaster occurs. 
Watching the progress of events, sometimes from 
one regiment, sometimes from another, I observed 
several ways by which these difficulties could be 
avoided. The Guides, long skilled in frontier war, 
were the most valuable instructors. As the enemy 
seize every point as soon as it is left, aU retirements 
should be masked by leaving two or three men 
behind from each company. These keep up a brisk 
fire, and after the whole company have taken up a 
new position, or have nearly done so, they run back 
and join them. Besides this, the fire of one com- 
pany in retiring should always be arranged to cover 
another, and at no moment in a ^^'ithdrawal should 
the firing ever cease. The covering company should 
be actually in position before the rear company 
begins to move, and should open fire at once. I 
was particularly struck on i8th September by the 
retirement of the Guides Infantry. These principles 
were carried out with such skill and thoroughness 
that, though the enemy pressed severely, only one 
man was wounded. The way in which Major Camp- 
bell, the commanding officer, availed himself of the 
advantages of retiring down two spurs and bringing 


a cross fire to bear to cover the alternate retirements, 
resembled some intricate chess problem, rather than 
a military evolution. 

The power of the new Lee-Metford rifle with the 
new Dum-Dum bullet — it is now called, though not 
officially, the " ek-dum " * bullet — is tremendous. 
The soldiers who have used it have the utmost con- 
fidence in their weapon. Up to 500 yards there is 
no difficulty about judging the range, as it shoots 
quite straight, or, technically speaking, has a flat 
trajectory. This is of the greatest value. Of the 
bullet it may be said, that its stopping power is all 
that could be desired. The Dum-Dum bullet, 
though not explosive, is expansive. The original 
Lee-Metford bullet was a pellet of lead covered by a 
nickel case with an opening at the base. In the 
improved bullet this outer case has been drawn 
backward, making the hole in the base a Httle 
smaller and leaving the lead at the tip exposed. 
The result is a wonderful and from the technical 
point of view a beautiful machine. On striking a 
bone this causes the bullet to "set up " or spread 
out, and it then tears and splinters everything 
before it, causing wounds which in the body must 
be generally mortal and in any hmb necessitate 
amputation. Continental critics have asked whether 
such a buUet is not a \dolation of the Geneva or St. 
Petersburg Conventions ; but no clause of these 
international agreements forbids expansive bullets, 
and the only provision on the subject is that shells 
less than a certain size shall not be employed. I 

* Hindustani for " at once." 


would observe that bullets are primarily intended 
to kill, and that these bullets do their duty most 
effectually, without causing any more pain to those 
struck by them, than the ordinary lead variety. 
As the enemy obtained some Lee-Metford rifles 
and Dum-Dum ammunition during the progress of 
the fighting, information on this latter point is 
forthcoming. The sensation is described as similar 
to that produced by any bullet — a violent numbing 
blow, followed by a sense of injury and weakness, 
but Httle actual pain at the time. Indeed, now-a- 
days, very few people are so unfortunate as to suffer 
much pain from wounds, except during the period of 
recovery. A man is hit. In a quarter of an hour, 
that is to say, before the shock has passed away and 
the pain begins, he is usually at the dressing station. 
Here he is given morphia injections, which reduce 
aU sensations to a uniform dulness. In this state 
he remains until he is placed under chloroform and 
operated on. 

The necessity for having the officers in the same 
dress as the men, was apparent to all who watched 
the operations. The conspicuous figure which a 
British officer in his helmet presented in contrast 
to the native soldiers in their turbans, drew a well- 
aimed fire in his direction. Of course, in British 
regiments, the difference is not nearly so marked. 
Nevertheless, at close quarters the keen-eyed tribes- 
men always made an especial mark of the officers, 
distinguishing them chiefly, I think, by the fact 
that they do not carry rifles. The following story 
may show how evident this was : — 


When the Buffs were marching down to Panj- 
kora, they passed the Royal West Kent coming up 
to relieve them at Inayat Kila. A private in the 
up-going regiment asked a friend in the Buffs what 
it was like at the front. " Oh," replied the latter, 
" you'll be all right so long as you don't go near no 
officers, nor no white stones." Whether the advice 
was taken is not recorded, but it was certainly 
sound, for three days later — on 30th September — 
in those companies of the Royal West Kent regi- 
ment that were engaged in the village of Agrah, 
eight out of eleven officers were hit or grazed by 

The fatigues experienced b}^ troops in mountain 
warfare are so great, that every effort hats to be made 
to lighten the soldier's load. At the same time 
the more ammunition he carries on his person the 
better. Mules laden v/ith cartridge-boxes are very 
likely to be shot, and fall into the hands of the 
enemy. In this manner over 6000 rounds were lost 
on the i6th of September by the two companies of 
Sikhs whose retirement I have described. 

The thick leather belts, pouches, and valise equip- 
ment of British infantry are unnecessarily heavy. I 
have heard many officers suggest having them made 
of web. The argument against this is that the web 
wears out. That objection could be met by having 
a large supply of these equipments at the base and 
issuing fresh ones as soon as the old were unfit for 
use. It is cheaper to wear out belts than soldiers. 

Great efforts should be made to give the soldier 
a piece of chocolate, a small sausage, or something 



portable and nutritious to carry with him to the 
field. In a war of long marches, of uncertain for- 
tunes, of retirements often delayed and always 
pressed, there have been many occasions when 
regiments and companies have unexpectedly had 
to stop out all night without food. It is well to 
remember that the stomach governs the world. 

The principle of concentrating artiller^^ has long 
been admitted in Europe. Sir Bindon Blood is the 
first general v/ho has applied it to mountain warfare 
in India. It had formerly been the custom to use 
the guns by twos and threes. As we have seen, at 
the action of Landakai, the Malakand Field Force 
had eighteen guns in action, of which twelve were 
in one hne. The fire of this artillery drove the 
enemy, who w^ere in great strength and an excellent 
position, from the ground. The infantry attack was 
accompUshed wdth hardly an}' loss, and a success 
was obtained at a cost of a dozen hves which would 
have been cheap at a hundred. 

After this, it may seem strange if I say that the 
artillery fire in the Mamund VaUey did very little 
execution. It is nevertheless a fact. The Ma- 
munds are a puny tribe, but the}- build their houses 
in the rocks ; and against sharpshooters in broken 
ground, guns can do little. Through field-glasses 
it was possible to see the enemy dodging behind 
their rocks, whenever the puffs of smoke from the 
guns told them that a shell was on its way. Per- 
haps smokeless pov/der would have put a stop to 
this. But in any case, the targets presented to the 
artillery were extremely bad. 


Where they really were of great service, was not 
so much in killing the enemy, but in keeping them 
from occupying certain spurs and knoUs. On 30th 
September, when the Royal West Kent and the 31st 
Punjaub Infantry were retiring under considerable 
pressure, the British Mountain Battery moved to 
within 700 yards of the enemy, and opened a rapid 
fire of shrapnel on the high ground which com- 
manded the line of retreat, killing such of the tribes- 
men, as were there, and absolutely forbidding the 
hiU to their companions. 

In all rearguard actions among the mountains 
the em.ployment of artillery is imperative. Even 
two guns may materially assist the extrication of 
the infantry from the peaks and crags of the hill- 
side, and prevent by timely shells the tribesmen 
from seizing each point as soon as it is evacuated. 
But there is no reason why the artillery should be 
stinted, and at least two batteries, if available, 
should accompany a brigade to the attack. 

Signalling by heliograph v/as throughout the 
operations of the greatest value. I had always 
reahsed the advantages of a semi-permanent hne of 
signal stations along the communications to the 
telegraph, but I had doubted the practicabihty of 
using such complicated arrangements in action. 
In this torrid country, where the sun is always 
shining, the heliograph is always useful. As soon as 
any hill was taken, communication was estabHshed 
with the brigadier, and no difficulty seemed to be 
met with, even while the attack was in progress, 
in sending messages quickly and clearly. In a 


country intersected by frequent ravines, over which 
a horse can move but slowly and painfully, it is the 
surest, the quickest, and indeed the only means of 
intercommunication. I am dehghted to testify to 
these things, because I had formerly been a scoffer. 
I have touched on infantry and artillery, and, 
though a previous chapter has been almost wholly 
devoted to the cavalry, I cannot resist the desire to 
get back to the horses and the lances again. The 
question of sword or lance as the cavalryman's 
weapon has long been argued, and it may be of 
interest to consider what are the views of those 
whose experience is the most recent. Though I 
have had no opportunity of witnessing the use of 
the lance, I have heard the opinions of many officers 
both of the Guides and the nth Bengal Lancers. 
All admit or assert that the lance is in this warfare 
the better weapon. It kills with more certainty 
and convenience, and there is less danger of the 
horseman being cut down. As to length, the general 
opinion seems to be in favour of a shorter spear. 
This, \vith a counter poise at the butt, gives as good 
a reach and is much more useful for close quarters. 
Maj or Beatson, one of the most distinguished cavalry 
officers on the frontier, is a strong advocate of this. 
Either the pennon should be knotted, or a boss of 
some sort affixed about eighteen inches below the 
point. Unless this be done there is a danger of the 
lance penetrating too far, when it either gets broken 
or allows the enemy to wriggle up and strike the 
lancer. This last actually happened on several 


Now, in considering the question to what extent a 
squadron should be armed with lances, the system 
adopted by the Guides may be of interest. In this 
warfare it is very often necessary for the cavalry- 
man to dismount and use his carbine. The lance 
then gets in the way and has to be tied to the 
saddle. This takes time, and there is usually not 
much time to spare in cavalry skirmishing. The 
Guides compromise matters by giving one man in 
every four a lance. This man, when the others dis- 
mount, stays in the saddle and holds their horses. 
They also give the outer sections of each squadron 
lances, and these, too, remain mounted, as the drill- 
book enjoins. But I become too technical. 

I pass for a moment to combined tactics. In 
frontier warfare Providence is on the side of the 
good band-o-bust* There are no scenic effects or 
great opportunities, and the Brigadier who leaves 
the mountains with as good a reputation as he 
entered them has proved himself an able, sensible 
man. The general who avoids all " dash," who 
never starts in the morning looking for a fight and 
without any definite intention, who does not attempt 
heroic achievements, and who keeps his eye on 
his watch, will have few casualties and little glory. 
For the enemy do not become formidable until a 
mistake has been made. The public who do not 
beUeve in militar}' operations without bloodshed 
may be unattentive. His subordinate officers may 
complain that they have had no fighting. But in 
the consciousness of duty skilfully performed and 

* .Arrangements. 


of human life preserved he will find a high re- 

A general review of the frontier war will, I think, 
show the great disadvantages to which regular 
troops are exposed in fighting an active enterprising 
enemy that can move faster and shoot better, who 
knows the country and who knows the ranges. 
The terrible losses inflicted on the tribesmen in the 
Swat Valley show how easily disciplined troops can 
brush away the bravest savages in the open. But 
on the hillside all is changed, and the observer will 
be struck by the weakness rather than the strength 
of modern weapons. Daring riflemen, individually 
superior to the soldiers, and able to support the 
greatest fatigues, can always inflict loss, aJthough 
they cannot bar their path. 

The mihtary problem with which the Spaniards 
are confronted in Cuba is in many points similar to 
that presented in the Afghan vaUeys ; a roadless, 
broken and undeveloped country ; an absence of 
any strategic points ; a well-armed enemy with 
great mobility and modern, who adopts guerilla 
tactics. The results in either case are, that the 
troops can march anywhere, and do anj'thing, 
except catch the enemy ; and that all their move- 
ments must be attended with loss. 

If the question of subduing the tribes be regarded 
from a purely military standpoint, if time were no 
object, and there was no danger of a lengthy opera- 
tion being interrupted by a change of pohcy at home, 
it would appear that the efforts of commanders 
should be, to induce the tribesmen to assume the 


offensive. On this point I must limit my remarks 
to the flat-bottomed valleys of Swat and Bajaur. 
To coerce a tribe like the Mamunds, a mixed brigade 
might camp at the entrance to the valley, and as 
at Inayat Kila, entrench itself very strongly. The 
squadron of cavalry could patrol the valley daily 
in complete security, as the tribesmen would not 
dare to leave the hills. All sowing of crops and 
agricultural work would be stopped. The natives 
v/ould retaliate by firing into the camp at night. 
This would cause loss ; but if every one were to dig 
a good hole to sleep in, and if the officers were made 
to have dinner before sundov/n, and forbidden to 
walk about except on duty after dark, there is no 
reason why the loss should be severe. At length the 
tribesmen, infuriated by the occupation of their 
valley, and perhaps rendered desperate by the 
approach of famine and winter, would make a tre- 
mendous attempt to storm the camp. With a 
strong entrenchment, a wire trip to break a rush, 
and modem rifles, they would be driven off with 
great slaughter, and once severely punished would 
probably beg for terms. If not, the process would 
be continued until they did so. 

Such a military policy would cost about the same 
in money as the vigorous methods I have described, 
as though smaller numbers of troops might be em- 
ployed, they would have to remain mobilised and in 
the field for a longer period. But the loss in per- 
sonnel would be much less. As good an example 
of the success of this method as can be found, is 
provided by Sir Bindon Blood's tactics at Nawagai, 


"vhen, being too weak to attack the enemy himself, 
l.e encouraged them to attack him, and then beat 
tiem off with great loss. 

From the point which we have now reached, it is 
possible, and perhaps not undesirable, to take a 
rapid 3^et sweeeping glance of the larger military 
problems of the day. We have for some j^ears 
adopted the " short service " sj'stem. It is a 
continental system. It has many disadvantages. 
Troops raised under it suffer from youth, want of 
training and lack of regimental associations. But 
on the Continent it has this one, paramount recom- 
mendation : it provides enormous numbers. The 
active arm}^ is merely a m.achine for manufacturing 
soldiers quickly, and passing them into the reserves, 
to be stored until they are wanted. European 
nations deal with soldiers only in masses. Great 
armies of men, not necessarily of a high standard 
of courage and training, but arm.ed v\ith deadly 
weapons, are directed against one another, under 
varying strategical conditions. Before they can re- 
bound, thousands are slaughtered and a great 
battle has been won or lost. The average courage 
of the two nations may perhaps have been decided. 
The essence of the continental system is its gigantic 

We have adopted this system in all respects but 
one, and that the vital one. We have got the poor 
quahty, without the great quantity. W^e have, by 
the short ser\dce sj^stem, increased our numbers a 
little, and decreased our standard a good deal. The 
reason that this system, which is so well adapted 


to continental requirements, confers no advantages 
upon us is obvious. Our army is recruited by i 
voluntar^^ system. Short service and conscription 
are inseparable. For this reason, several stem 
soldiers advocate conscription. But many words 
will have to be spoken, many votes voted, and per- 
haps many blows struck before the British people 
would submit to such an abridgment of their hber- 
ties, or such a drag upon their commerce. It v/ill 
be time to make such sacrifices when the English 
Channel runs dry. 

Without conscription we cannot have great num- 
bers. It should therefore be our endeavour to have 
those we possess of the best quahty ; and our situa- 
tion and needs enforce this view. Our soldiers are 
not required to operate in great masses, but very 
often to fight hand to hand. Their campaigns are 
not fought in temperate climates and civiHsed 
countries. They are sent beyond the seas to Africa 
or the Indian frontier, and there, under a hot sun 
and in a pestilential land, they are engaged in indi- 
vidual combat with athletic savages. They are 
not old enough for the work. 

Young as thej- are, their superior weapons and 
the prestige of the dominant race enable them to 
maintain their 5U]:>eriority over the native troops. 
But in the present war several incidents have 
occurred, unimportant, insignificant, it is true, but 
wliich, in the interests of Imperial expediency, are 
better forgotten. The native regiments are ten 
years older than the, British regiments. Many of 
tlieir men have seen service and have been under 


fire. Some of them have several medals. AU, of 
course, are habituated to the natural conditions. 
It is evident how many advantages they enjoy. 
It is also apparent how very serious the conse- 
quences would be if they imagined they possessed 
any superiority. That such an assumption should 
even be possible is a menace to our very existence 
in India. Intrinsic merit is the only title of a domi- 
nant race to its possessions. If we fail in this it is 
not because our spirit is old and grown weak, but 
because our soldiers are young, and not yet grown 

Boys of twenty-one and twenty-two are expected 
to compete on equal terms mth Sikhs and Gurkhas 
of thirty, fully developed and in the prime of life. 
It is an unfair test. That they should have held 
their own is a splendid tribute to the vigour of 
our race. The experiment is dangerous, and it is 
also expensive. We continue to make it because 
the idea is still cherished that British armies \vill 
one day again play a part in continental war. 
When the people of the United Kingdom are foohsh 
enough to allow their little army to be ground to 
fragments between continental myriads, they will 
deserve all the misfortunes that will inevitably come 
upon them. 

I am aware that these arguments are neither 
original nor new. I have merely arranged them. I 
am also aware that there are able, briUiant men 
w^ho have spent their lives in the ser\dce of the 
State, who do not take the views I have quoted. 
The question has been regarded from an Indian 


point of view. There is probably no colonel in 
India, who commands a British regiment, who 
would not like to see liis men five years older. 
It may be that the Indian opinion on the subject 
is based only on partial information, and warped 
b}/ local circumstances. Still I have thought it 
right to submit it to the consideration of the pubHc, 
at a time when the army has been fiUing such a 
prominent position, not only in the Jubilee proces- 
sion and the frontier war, but also in the estimates 
presented to the House of Commons. 

Passing from the concrete to the abstract, it may 
not be unfitting that these pages, which have re- 
corded so many vahant deeds, should contain 
some brief inquiry into the nature of those motives 
which induce men to expose themselves to great 
hazards, and to remain in situations of danger. 
The circumstances of war contain every element 
that can shake the nerves. The whizzing of the 
projectiles ; the shouts and yells of a numerous and 
savage enemy ; the piteous aspect of the wounded, 
covered with blood and sometimes crying out in 
pain ; the spurts of dust which on aU sides show 
where Fate is stepping — these are the sights and 
sounds which assail soldiers, whose development 
and education enable them to fully appreciate 
their significance. And yet the courage of the 
soldier is the commonest of virtues. Thousands of 
men, drawn at random from the population, are 
found to control the instinct of self-preservation. 
Nor is this courage peculiar to any particular 
nation. Courage is not only common, but cosmo- 


politan. But such are the apparent contradictions 
of life, that this virtue, which so many seem to 
possess, all hold the highest. There is probably no 
man, however miserable, who would not writhe at 
being exposed a coward. Why should the common 
be precious ? What is the explanation ? 

It appears to be this. The courage of the soldier 
is not really contempt for physical evils and in- 
difference to danger. It is a more or less success- 
ful attempt to simulate these habits of mind. 
Most men aspire to be good actors in the play. 
There are a few who are so perfect that they do 
not seem to be actors at aU. This is the ideal 
after which the rest are striving. It is one very 
rarely attained. 

Three principal influences combine to assist men 
in their attempts : preparation, vanity and senti- 
ment. The first includes all the force of discipHne 
ajid training. The soldier has for years contem- 
plated the possibihty of being under fire. He has 
wondered vaguely what kind of an experience it 
would be. He has seen many who have gone 
through it and returned safely. His curiosity is 
excited. Presently comes the occasion. By road 
and railway he approaches daily nearer to the 
scene. His mind becomes familiar \^ith the pros- 
pect. His comrades are in the same situation. 
Habit, behind which force of circumstances is con- 
cealed, makes him conform. At length the hour 
arrives. He observes the darting puffs of smoke in 
the distance. He hstens to the sounds that are in 
the air. Perhaps he hears something strike with a 

thud and sees a soldier near him collapse like a 
shot pheasant. He realises that it may be his turn 
next. Fear grips him by the throat. 

Then vanity, the vice which promotes so many 
virtues, asserts itself. He looks at his comrades 
and they at him. So far he has shown no sign of 
weakness. He thinks, they are thinking him brave. 
The dearly longed-for reputation glitters before his 
eyes. He executes the orders he receives. 

But something else is needed to make a hero. 
Some other influence must help him through the 
harder trials and more severe ordeals which may 
befall him. It is sentiment which makes the differ- 
ence in the end. Those who doubt should stroll 
to the camp fire one night and listen to the soldiers' 
songs. Every one clings to something that he 
thinks is high and noble, or that raises him above 
the rest of the world in the hour of need. Perhaps 
he remembers that he is sprung from an ancient 
stock, and of a race that has always known how to 
die ; or more probably it is something smaller and 
more intimate ; the regfment, whatever it is called — 
" The Gordons," " The Buffs," " The Queen's,"— 
and so nursing the name — only the imofficial name 
of an infantry battalion after all — he accomplishes 
great things and maintains the honour and the 
Empire of the British people. 

It may be worth while, in the matter of names, to 
observe the advantages to a regiment of a mono- 
syllabic appellation. Every one will remember 
Lieut.-Colonel Mathias* speech to the Gordons. 
Imagine for a moment that speech addressed to 


some regiment saddled with a fantastic title on the 
territorial system, as, for instance, Mr. KipUng's 
famous regiment, " The Princess Hohenzollern- 
Sigmaringen-Anspach's Merthyr Tydvilshire Own 
Royal Loyal Light Infantry." With the old num- 
bers all started on equal terms. 

This has been perhaps a cold-blooded chapter. 
We have considered men as targets ; tribesmen, 
fighting for their homes and hills, have been re- 
garded only as the objective of an attack ; killed 
and wounded human beings, merely as the waste 
of war. We have even attempted to analyse the 
high and noble virtue of courage, in the hopes of 
learning how it may be manufactured. 

The philosopher may observe with pity, and the 
philanthropist deplore with pain, that the attention 
of so many minds should be directed to the scien- 
tific destruction of the human species ; but practical 
people in a business-like age wall remember that 
they Uve in a world of men — not angels — and 
regulate their conduct accordingly. 



" Myself when young did eagerly frequent 
Doctor and saint, and heard great argument 

About it and about, but evermore 
Came out by the same door wherein I went." 

Omar Khayyam. 

The Question — The " Forward PoHcy " — Its Present 
Results — What might have been — Actuahty — The 
Responsibility — At Sea — The Course — Silver v. 
Steel — Looking Backward — The End. 

THESE pages, which have chronicled a variety 
of small incidents, have hitherto concerned 
themselves httle with the great matters out of 
which those incidents have arisen. As an opening 
chapter should lead the reader to expect the con- 
siderations that the book contains, so the conclusion 
should express the opinion he might form from the 
perusal. When, at an earher period, I refrained 
from discussing the question of frontier poUcy, I 
declared that its consideration was only postponed 
until a more propitious m.oment. That moment now 
presents itself. There will not be v/anting those 
who will remind me, that in this matter my opinion 
is not supported by age or experience. To such I 


shall reply, that if what is written is false or foolish, 
neither age nor experience should fortify it ; and if 
it is true, it needs no such support. The propositions 
of Euclid would be no less indisputable were they 
propounded by an infant or an idiot. 

The inquirer sees the vast question unfold itself 
with feelings hke those mth which the fisherman 
in the old story watched the genius Jie had un- 
wittingly released, rise from the bottle in clouds of 
smoke, which overspread the whole sky. Every 
moment the subject appears not only wider but 
deeper. When I reflect on the great number of 
diverse and often conflicting facts which may be 
assem.bled under every head — military, economic, 
political or moral — and consider the accumulations 
of specialised and technical knowledge necessary 
for their proper appreciation, I am convinced that 
to compass the whole is beyond the mind and 
memory of man. Of such a question it is difficult 
to take broad views, and dangerous to generalise. 
Still less is it possible, as many people appear to 
imagine, to settle it with a phrase or an epigram. 
A point is reached v/here all relation between 
detail and proportion is lost. It is a picture of 
such great size that to see it all, it is necessary to 
stand so far off that neither colours nor figures are 
distinguishable. By constantly changing the point 
of view, some true perspective is possible, and even 
then the conception must be twisted and distorted, 
by the imperfections of the mental mirror. 

Sensible of the magnitude of the task, and con- 
scious of my own weakness, I propose to examine 


in a spirit of cautious inquir^^ and of tolerance the 
present " Forward Policy," and thence to approach 
the main question, to the answer of which that 
poHcy is only a guess. 

I must revert to a period when the British power, 
having conquered the plains of India and subdued 
its sovereigns, paused at the foot of the Himalayas 
and turned its tireless energy to internal progress 
and development. The " line of the mountains " 
formed a frontier as plain and intelligible as that 
which defines the limits of the sea. To the south 
lay the British Empire in India ; to the north 
were warlike tribes, barbarous, unapproachable, 
irreclaimable ; and far beyond these, lay the other 
great Power of Asia. 

It was long the wisdom of Anglo-Indian states- 
men to preserve a situation which contained so 
many elements of finality, and so many guarantees 
of peace. When the northern savages, impelled 
by fanaticism or allured by plunder, descended from 
the mountains and invaded the plains, they were 
met by equal courage and superior discipline, 
and driven in disorder to their confines. But this 
was found to be an inadequate deterrent, and the 
purely defensive principle had to be modified in favour 
of that system of punitive expeditions which has 
been derided as the policy of " Butcher and Bolt." 

Gradually, as the circumstances altered, the 
methods of dealing with them changed. The 
punitive expeditions had awakened an intense 
hostiUty among the tribesmen. The intrigues of 
Russia had for some time been watched with alarm 


by the Indian Government. As long as the border 
could remain a " No-man's land " — as it were a 
" great gulf fixed " — all was well ; but if any power 
was to be supreme, that power must neither be 
Russia nor Afghanistan.* The predominance of 
Russian influence in these territories would give 
them the power to invade India at their discretion, 
with what chances of success need not be here dis- 
cussed. The predominance of Afghan influence 
would make the Amir master of the situation, and 
enable him to blackmail the Indian Government 
indefinitely. A change of policy, a departure from 
the old frontier line, presented itself with increasing 
force to responsible men. To-day we see the evils 
that have resulted from that change. The dangers 
that inspired it have been modified. 

For some years the opinion in favour of an 
advance grew steadily among those in power in 
India. In 1876 a decisive step was taken. Roused 
by the efforts of the Amir to obtain the suzerainty 
of the Pathan tribes. Lord Lytton's Government 
stretched a hand through Cashmere towards Chitral, 
and the Mehtar of that State became the vassal, 
nominally of the Maharaja of Cashmere, but practi- 
cally of the Imperial Government. The avowed 
object was to ultimately secure the effectual com- 
mand of the passes of the Hindu Kush.f The 

* " We shall consider it from the first incumbent upon the 
(jovemment of India to prevent, at any cost, the establishment 
within this outlying country of the political preponderance of any 
other power." — Letter from Government of India to the Secretary 
of State, No. 49, 28th February, 1879. 

t Despatch No. 17, nth Jime, 1877. 


British Ministry, the famous ministry of Lord 
Beaconsfield, approved the action and endorsed the 
poHcy. Again, in 1879, ^^^ Vice-regal Government, 
in an official despatch, declared their intention of 
acquiring, " through the ruler of Cashmere, the 
power of making such political and military arrange- 
ments as will effectually command the passes of the 
Hindu Kush." * " If," so runs the despatch, " we 
extend and hy degrees consolidate our influence f over 
this country, and if we resolve that no foreign 
interference can be permitted on this side of the 
mountains or within the drainage system of the 
Indus, we shall have laid down a natural Hne of 
frontier, which is distinct, intelhgible and likely to 
be respected." J 

No declaration of policy or intention could have 
been more explicit. The words to " extend and 
consolidate our influence " can, when applied to 
barbarous peoples, have no other meaning than 
ultimate annexation. Thus the scheme of an ad- 
vance from the plains of India into the mountain 
region, which had long been maturing in men's 
minds and which was shaped and outlined by 
many small emergencies and expedients, was 
clearly proclaimed. The forward movement had 

A fresh and powerful impulse was imparted after 
the termination of Lord Ripon's viceroy alty. The 
open aggression wiiich characterised the Russian 

* Despatch No. 49, 28tb February, 1879. 

t The italics are mine. 

% Despatch No. 49, 28th February, 1S79. 


frontier policy of '84 and '85 had been met by a 
supine apathy and indifference to the interests of 
the State, which deserved, and which, had the issues 
been less important, might have received actual 
punishment. It was natural that his immediate 
successors should strive to dissociate themselves 
from the follies and the blunders of those years. 
The spirit of reaction led to the final abandonment 
of the venerable policy of non-intervention. In- 
stead of the " hne of the mountains," it was now 
maintained that the passes through them must be 
held. This is the so-called " Forward Pohcy." 
It is a policy which aims at obtaining the frontier — 
Gilgit, Chitral, Jelalabad, Kandahar. 

In pursuance of that poHcy we have been led to 
build many frontier forts, to construct roads, to 
annex territories, and to enter upon more intimate 
relations with the border tribes. The most marked 
incident in that policy has been the retention of 
Chitral. This act was regarded by the tribesmen 
as a menace to their independence, and by the 
priesthood as the prelude to a general annexation. 
Nor were they v/rong, for such is the avowed aim 
of the " Forward Pohcy." The result of the reten- 
tion of Chitral has been, as I have already described, 
that the priesthood, knowing that their authority 
would be weakened by civilisation, have used their 
religious influence on the people to foment a general 

It is useless to discuss the Chitral question inde- 
pendently. If the " Forward Pohcy " be justified, 
then the annexation of Chitral, its logical outcome, 


is also justified. The bye and the main plots stand 

or fall together. 

So far then we have advanced and have been 
resisted. The " Forward Policy " has brought an 
increase of territory, a nearer approach to what is 
presumably a better frontier line and — war. All 
this was to have been expected. It may be said of 
the present system that it precludes the possibility 
of peace. Isolated posts have been formed in the 
midst of races notoriously passionate, reckless and 
warlike. They are challenges. When they are 
assailed by the tribesmen, relieving and punitive 
expeditions become necessary. AU this is the 
outcome of a recognised policy, and was doubtless 
foreseen by those who initiated it. What may be 
called strange is that the forts should be badly 
constructed — cramped, as the Malakand positions ; 
commanded, like Chakdara ; without flank defences, 
as at Saraghari ; without proper garrisons, as in the 
Khyber. This is a side issue and accidental. The 
rest of the situation has been deliberately created. 

The possibility of a great combination among 
the border tribes was indeed not contemplated. 
Separated by distance, and divided by faction, 
it was anticipated they could be dealt with in de- 
tail. On this point we have been undeceived. 

That period of war and disturbance which was 
the inevitable first consequence of the " Forward 
Pohcy " must in any case have been disturbed and 
expensive. Regarded from an economic stand- 
point, the trade of the frontier valleys wiU never 
pay a shiUing in the pound on the military ex-i 


penditure necessary to preserve order. Morally, it 
is unfortunate for the tribesmen that our spheres 
of influence clash with their spheres of existence. 
Even on the military question, a purely technical 
question, as to whether an advanced frontier Une 
is desirable or not, opinion is divided. Lord 
Roberts says one thing ; Mr. Morley another. 

There is no lack of arguments against the " For- 
ward Policy." There are many who opposed its 
initiation. There are many who oppose it now ; 
who think that nothing should have lured the 
Government of India beyond their natural frontier 
line, and who maintain that it would have been 
both practical and philosophic had they said : 
" Over aU the plains of India will we cast our rule. 
There we will place our governors and magistrates ; 
our words shall be respected and our laws obeyed. 
But that region, where the land rises Hke the waves 
of a sea, shall serve us as a channel of stormy waters 
to divide us from our foes and rivals." 

But it is futile to engage in the controversies of 
the past. There are sufficient in the present, and 
it is with the present we are concerned. 

We have crossed the Rubicon. In the opinion of 
all those who know most about the case, the 
for\^^ard movement is now beyond recall. Indeed, 
when the intense hostility of the Border tribes, the 
uncertain attitude of the Amir, the possibilities of 
further Russian aggression and the state of feeling 
in India are considered, it is difficult to dispute this 
judgment. Successive Indian Administrations have 
surged, successive English Cabinets have admitted, 


the necessity of finding a definite and a defensible 
frontier. The old Hne has been left, and between 
that line and an advanced line conterminous with 
Afghan territory, and south of which all shall be 
reduced to law and order, there does not appear 
to be any prospect of a peaceful and permanent 

The responsibility of placing us in this position 
rests with those who first forsook the old frontier 
poUcy of holding the '' line of the mountains." 
The historian of the future, with impartial pen and 
a more complete knowledge, must pronounce on the 
wisdom of their act. In the meantime it should be 
remembered of these great men, that they left their 
public offices amid the applause and admiration of 
their contemporaries, and " in the full tide of 
successful experiment." Nor can so much be said 
of all those who have assailed them. Those who 
decided, have accepted the responsibility, and have 
defended their action. But I am inclined to think 
that the rulers of India, ten years ago or a hundred 
years ago, were as much the sport of circumstances 
as their successors are to-day. 

Let us return to the present and our own affairs. 
We have embarked on stormy and perilous waters. 
The strong current of events forbids return. The 
sooner the farther shore is reached, the sooner will 
the dangers and discomforts of the voyage be over. 
All are anxious to make the land. The suggestions 
as to the course are numerous. There are some, 
bad and nervous sailors perhaps, who insist upon 
returning, although they are told it is impossible. 


and who would sink the ship sooner than go on, were 
the}^ not outnumbered by their shipmates. While 
they are delaying, the current bears us towards 
more disturbed waters and more rocky landing 

There are others who call out for " Full steam 
ahead," and would accomplish the passage at once, 
whatever the risks. But, alas ! the ship is run out 
of coal and can only spread its sails to the varpng 
breezes, take advantage of favourable tides, and 
must needs He to when the waves are high. 

But the sensible passenger may, though he 
knows the difficulties of the voyage and the dangers 
of the sea, fairly ask the man at the wheel to keep 
a true and constant course. He may with reason 
and justice insist that, whatever the delays which 
the storms or accidents may cause, the head of the 
vessel shall be consistently pointed towards the 
distant port, and that come what will she shall not 
be allov/ed to drift aimlessly hither and thither on 
the chance of fetching up somewhere some day. 

The " Full steam ahead " method would be 
undoubtedly the most desirable. This is the 
military view, ^^obilise, it is urged, a nice field 
force, and operate at leisure in the frontier valleys, 
until they are as safe and civilised as Hyde Park. 
Nor need this course necessarily involve the exter- 
mination of the inhabitants. Military rule is the 
rule best suited to the character and comprehension 
of the tribesmen. They will soon recognise the 
futility of resistance, and will gradually welcome 
the increase of wealth and comfort that will follow 


a stable government. Besides this, we shall obtain 
a definite frontier almost immediately. Only one 
real objection has been advanced against this plan. 
But it is a crushing one, and it constitutes the 
most serious argument against the whole " Forward 
PoUcy." It is this : we have neither the troops nor 
the money to carry it out. 

The inevitable alternative is the present system, 
a system which the war has interrupted, but to 
which we must return at its close ; a system of 
gradual advance, of political intrigue among the 
tribes, of subsidies and small expeditions. 

Though this policy is slow, painful and somewhat 
undignified, there is no reason that it should not 
be sure and strong. But it must be consistently 
pursued. Dynamite in the hands of a child is 
not more dangerous than a strong policy weakly 
carried out. The reproach which may be justly 
laid upon the rulers of India, whether at home or 
abroad, is that vv'hile they recognise the facts, they 
shrink from the legitimate conclusions. 

They know they cannot turn back. They fully 
intend to go on. Yet they fear to admit the situa- 
tion, to frankly lay their case before the country, 
and trust to the good sense and courage of an 
ancient democracy. The result is, that they tie 
their hands by ridiculous and unnecessary procla- 
mations, such as that which preceded the Chitral 
expedition of 1895. The political officers who 
watch the frontier tribes are expected to obtain 
authority by force of personal character, yet strictly 
according to regulations, and to combine individu- 

ality with uniformity. And sometimes this timidity 
leads to such dismal acts of folly as the desertion of 
the Khyber forts. 

But in spite of all obstacles and errors there is 
a steady advance, which may be accelerated, and 
made easier, by many smaU reforms. These ques- 
tions of detail approach so near the province of 
the speciaUst, that I shaU not attempt to enumerate 
or discuss them. It is suggested among other things 
that wider powers should be given to the pohtical 
officers, in their ordinary duties of peace. Others 
advocate occasional demonstrations of troops, to 
impress the tribesmen with the fact that those they 
see are not the full strength of the Sirkar. Bolder 
minds have hinted at transplanting young Pathans, 
and educating them in India after the custom of the 
Romans. But this last appears to be suitable to a 
classic rather than a Christian age. 

From a general survey of the people and the 
country, it would seem that silver makes a better 
weapon than steel. A system of subsidies must 
tend to improve our relations with the tribes, enlist 
their interests on the side of law and order, and by 
increasing their wealth, lessen their barbarism. In 
the matter of the supply of arms the Government 
would find it cheaper to enter the market as a pur- 
chaser, and have agents to outbid the tribesmen, 
rather than to employ soldiers. As water finds its 
own level, so the laws of economics wUl infaUibly 
bring commodities to the highest bidder. Doubt- 
less there are many other lessons wliich the present 
war will have taught. These may Ughten a task 


which, though long and heavy, is not beyond the 
powers OF pluck of the British people. 

We are at present in a transition stage, nor is the 
manner nor occasion of the end in sight. Still 
this is no time to despair. I have often noticed 
in these Afghan valleys, that they seem to be 
entirely surrounded by the hills, and to have no exit. 
But as the column has advanced, a gap gradually 
becomes visible and a pass appears. Sometimes it 
is steep and difficult, sometimes it is held by the 
enemy and must be forced, but I have never seen a 
valley that -had not a way out. That way we shall 
ultimately find, if we march with the firm but 
prudent step of men who know the dangers ; but, 
conscious of their skill and discipline, do not doubt 
their ability to deal with them as they shall arise. 
In such a spirit I would leave the subject, ^\ith one 
farewell glance. 

Looking on the story of the great frontier war ; 
at all that has been. told, and aU that others may 
tell, there must be many who to-day wiU only 
deplore the losses of brave soldiers and hard-earned 
money. But those who from some future age shall, 
by the steady light of history, dispassionately review 
the whole situation, its causes, results and occasion, 
may find other reflections, as serious perhaps, but 
less mournful. The year 1897, in the annals of the 
British people, was marked by a declaration to the 
whole world of their faith in the higher destinies of 
their race. If a strong man, when the wine sparkles 
at the feast and the lights are bright, boasts of his 
prowess, it is well he should have an opportunity 


of shomng in the cold and grey of the morning 
that he is no idle braggart. And unborn arbiters, 
with a wider knowledge, and more developed 
brains, may trace in recent events the influence of 
that mysterious Power which, directing the progress 
of our species, and regulating the rise and fall of 
Empires, has afforded that opportunity to a people, 
of whom at least it may be said, that they have 
added to the happiness, the learning and the 
liberties of mankind. 



26th July — ist August, 1897. 



43. AU have done well, but I should like to bring 
before His Excellency for favourable consideration 
the following names of officers and men : — 

24th Punjaub Infantry. 

Lieut. -Colonel J. Lamb, who, on the first alarm 
being sounded on the night of the 26th July, had 
tiaken prompt action in reinforcing the outpost 
line held by his regiment, and later was of great 
assistance in directing the defence of the central 
enclosure, till he was severely wounded. 

Captain H. F. Holland showed great courage 
in assisting to drive a number of the enemy out of 


the central enclosure, and was severely wounded 
in doing so. 

I would specially wish to mention Lieutenant 
S. H. Climo, who commanded the 24th Punjaub 
Infantry after Lieut. -Colonel Lamb and Captain 
Holland had been wounded. This officer has 
shown soldierly qualities and ability of the highest 
order. He has commanded the regiment with dash 
and enterprise, and shown a spirit and example 
which has been followed by all ranks. I trust 
His Excellency will be pleased to favourably notice 
Lieutenant Climo, who has proved himself an 
officer who will do well in any position, and is weU 
worthy of promotion. 

Lieutenant A. K. Rawlins has behaved well all 
through. I would recommend him to His Ex- 
cellency for the plucky way in which he went to 
the fort on the 26th July to bring down reinforce- 
ments, and again for the dash he showed in leading 
his men on the 27th and 28th, of which Lieutenant 
Climo speaks most highly. 

Lieutenant E. W. Costello, 22nd Punjaub Infantry, 
temporarily attached to the 24th Punjaub Infantry, 
has behaved exceedingly well, and is the subject of 
a separate recommendation. 

31st Punjaub Infantry. 

Major M. I. Gibbs, who commanded the regiment 
in the absence of Major O'Bryen, with skiU and in 
every way to my satisfaction. 

Lieutenant H. B. Ford, Acting- Adjutant, 31st 
Punjaub Infantry, rendered valuable assistance in 


helping to bring in a wounded Sepoy during the 
withdrawal from north camp. He also behaved with 
courage in resisting an attack of the enemy on the 
night of the 28th, when he was severely wounded. 

Surgeon-Lieutenant J. H. Hugo, attached to 31st 
Punjaub Infantry, rendered valuable service on the 
night of the 28th in saving Lieutenant H. B. Ford 
from bleeding to death. Lieutenant Ford was 
wounded and a branch of an SLVtery was cut. There 
were no means of securing the artery, and Surgeon- 
Lieutenant Hugo for two hours stopped the bleeding 
by compressing the artery \\ith his fingers. Had 
he not had the strength to do so, Lieutenant Ford 
must have died. Early in the morning, thinking 
that the enemy had effected an entrance into camp, 
Surgeon-Lieutenant Hugo picked up Lieutenant Ford 
with one arm, and, still holding the artery with 
the fingers of the other hand, carried him to a place 
of safety. 

4^th {Rattray's) Sikhs. 

Colonel H. A. Sawyer was away on leave when 
hostihties broke out, but he returned on the 29th 
and took over command of the regiment from 
Lieut. -Colonel i\IcRae, and from that time rendered 
me every assistance. 

I would specially bring to the notice of His Ex- 
cellency the Commander-in-Chief the name of Lieut. - 
Colonel H. N. McRae, who commanded the regiment 
on the 26th, 27th and 28th. His prompt action in 
seizing the gorge at the top of the Buddhist road 
on the night of the 26t]i, and the gallant way in 


which he held it, undoubtedly saved the camp 
from being rushed on that side. For this, and for 
the able way m which he commanded the regiment 
during the first three days of the fighting, I would 
commend him to His Excellency's favourable con- 

Also Lieutenant R. M. Barff, Officiating- Adjutant 
of the regiment, who, Lieut. -Colonel McRae reports, 
behaved with great courage and rendered him 
valuable assistance. 

The Guides. 

I also wish to bring the name of Lieut. -Colonel 
R. B. Adams of the Guides to His Excellency's 
notice. The prompt way in which the corps mobi- 
lised, and their grand march, reflect great credit on 
him and the corps. Since arrival at the Malakand 
on the 27th July and till the morning of the ist 
August, Lieut. -Colonel Adams was in command 
of the lower camp, i.e., that occupied by central 
and left position, and in the execution of this 
command, and the arrangements he made for im- 
proving the defences, he gave me every satisfaction. 
I have also to express my appreciation of the way 
in which he conducted the cavalry reconnaissance 
on the 1st August, on which occasion his horse was 
shot under him. 

Great credit is due to Lieutenant P. C. Eliott- 
Lockhart, who was in command of the Guides 
Infantry, for bringing up the regiment from Mardan 
to Malakand in such good condition after their 
trying march. 


Captain G. M. Baldwin, D.S.O., behaved with 
great courage and coolness during the reconnais- 
sance of the ist August, and though severely wounded 
by a sword cut on the head, he remained on the 
ground and continued to lead his men. 

Lieutenant H. L. S. Maclean also behaved with 
courage, and displayed an excellent example on the 
night of the 28th July, when he was severely 

nth Bengal Lancers. 

Major S. Beatson commanded the squadron, nth 
Bengal Lancers, which arrived at Malakand on the 
29th, and led them with great skill and dash on the 
occasion of the reconnaissance on the ist August. 

. No. 8 Bengal Mountain Battery. 

Lieutenant F. A. W3mter was the only officer with 
No. 8 Bengal ^fountain Battery from the 26th till 
the 30th July, and he commanded it during that 
time, when all the severest of the fighting was 
going on, with great ability, and has proved him- 
self a good soldier. I should Hke especially to 
mention him for His Excellency's consideration. 
The battery did excellent work aU through. 

No. 5 Company Quee^is Own Madras Sappers and 

Lieutenant A. R. Winsloe, R.E., commanded the 
company from the 27th July till the ist August to 
my entire satisfaction. His services in strengthen- 
ing the defences were invaluable. 


Lieutenant F. W. Watling, R.E., was in command 
of the company in the absence of Captain Johnson 
on the 26th, and commanded it well until he was 
wounded in gallantly trying to resist a charge of 
the enemy. After Lieutenant Watling was wounded 
the command of the company for the remainder 
of the night of the 26th, and till Lieutenant Winsloe 
returned on the 27th, devolved on Lieutenant 
E. N. Manley, R.E. He performed his duties with 
great credit, and afterwards was of great assistance, 
by his zeal and his exertions, to Lieutenant Winsloe. 

Medical Staff. 

Brigade-Surgeon-Lieut. -Colonel F. A. Smyth was 
most zealous, and performed his duties to my 
satisfaction. He volunteered to perform the duties 
of Provost Marshal, and did so for a short time 
during the illness of Lieutenant H. E. Cotterill. 

The arrangements made by Surgeon-Major S. 
Hassand, Senior Medical Officer, 38th Native Field 
Hospital, and the indefatigable attention and care 
with which he devoted himself to the wounded, 
deserve great praise. The list of casualties is large, 
and Surgeon-Major Hassand has been untiring in his 
exertions for their relief. I hope His Excellency will 
think fit to consider his services favourably. 

Surgeon-Captain T. A. O. Langston, 38th Native 
Field Hospital, rendered valuable assistance in 
attending to the wounded imder a heavy fire on 
the night of the 26th and each following night, and 
behaved with courage and devotion in carrying out 


his duties under very exceptional circumstances. 
Surgeon-Lieutenant W. Carr has worked night 
and day in the hospitals, in trying to alleviate the 
sufferings of the wounded, and has most ably and 
efficiently aided Surgeon-Major Hassan. 

Brigade Staff. 

Major L. Herbert, my Deputy Assistant Adjutant 
and Quartermaster-General, was of the greatest 
assistance to me by the zeal and energy v/ith which 
he performed his duties from the moment the 
news of the approach of the enemy was received till 
he was severely wounded while standing next to me 
in the enclosure of the Sappers and Miners' camp 
on the night of the 26th. Since being wounded, 
he has carried on all his office duties on his bed. 
I would wish to commend his gallant conduct for 
the favourable consideration of the Commander-in- 
Chief. ' 

Although Major H. A. Deane is in no way under 
my authority, I feel I am under a great obligation 
to tiim for the valuable assistance he rendered me 
with his advice and for volunteering to put himself 
at my disposal with the object of carrying on the 
active duties of Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General, 
when Major Herbert v/as wounded. He was inde- 
fatigable in assisting me in every way he could, 
and I am anxious to put on record my grateful 
appreciation of the services he rendered me. 

44. The above Hst of names may appear to be 
somewhat long ; but I would point out that the 


fighting was almost constant for a week, and was 
of such a close nature as to demand incessant 
exertion from every officer in the force, and to 
ehcit constant acts of courage and gallant example 
which cannot be overlooked. 

45. I would not Hke to close this despatch without 
paying a tribute to the memory of a fine soldier, and 
charming companion whose death the whole force 

Major W. W. Taylor had behaved with the 
greatest gallantry and dash in meeting the enemy's 
first charge with Lieut. -Colonel McRae, and, had 
he lived, he would undoubtedly have distinguished 
himself in his career. His loss is a heavy one to his 
regiment, and to the Service, and there is no one in 
the brigade who does not mourn him as a friend. 

I have also to deplore the death of Honorary- 
Lieutenant L. Manley, who as my Commissariat 
Officer had rendered me great assistance, and who 
died fighting manfully. His loss is a very serious 
one to the brigade. 

46. I attach separately, for favourable considera- 
tion, a Hst of native officers, non-commissioned 
officers and men, who have done especially good 
service ; some of whom I have therein recom- 
mended for the order of merit. 

I trust these recommendations will meet with the 
favourable consideration of His Excellency the 


2ND August, 1897. 


19. I have the honour to invite the special atten- 
tion of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief in 
India to the good services of the following officers 
during the operations described above, namely : — 

Brigadier-General W. H. Meiklejohn, C.B., C.M.G., 
carried out his duties in command of the force which 
reheved Chakdara Fort with great gallantry and 

Colonel A. J. F. Reid, Officiating Colonel on the 
Staff, Malakand Brigade, afforded me valuable assist- 
ance by carrying out the rearrangement of the 
defensive posts at the ^lalakand on the ist August, 
after the Reheving Force had been drawTi from 
them, and in making the preparations for Colonel 
T. H. Goldney's attack on the 2nd. 

Colonel T. H. Goldney, 35th Sikhs, disposed and 
led the troops on the morning of the 2nd in the 
successful attack on the hill, since named after 
him, in a most judicious and satisfactory manner. 

Major E. A. P. Hobday, R.A., was most energetic 
and indefatigable in assisting Colonel A. J. F. Reid 
and me in carrying out the multifarious work 


which had to be done at the Malakand, and in the 
Swat Valley on the ist, 2nd and 3rd. 

Brigadier-General Meiklejohn reports favourably 
on the following officers who were under his com- 
mand during the operations above detailed, viz. : — 

Captain G. F. H. Dillon, 40th Pathans, who 
acted as Staff Officer to the Reheving Force, showed 
great readiness and resource, and Ms assistance was 
of the utmost value. 

Lieutenants C. R. Gaunt, 4th Dragoon Guards, 
Orderly Officer, and E. Christian, Royal Scots 
FusiUers, Signalling Officer, carried out their duties 
most satisfactorily. 

Lieut. -Colonel R. B. Adams, Queen's Ovm Corps 
of Guides, commanded the cavalry (four squadrons) 
with the Reheving Force in the most gallant and 
judicious manner. 

The following officers commanding units and 
detachments of the Relieving Force are stated 
by Brigadier-General Meiklejohn to have carried 
out their duties in a thoroughly capable and satis- 
factory manner, viz. : — 

Colonel H. A. Sawyer, 45th Sikhs. 

Major Stuart Beatson, nth Bengal Lancers. 

Major J. G. Ramsay, 24th Punjaub Infantry. 

Captain A. H. C. Birch, R.A. (8th Bengal Moun- 
tain Battery). 

Lieutenant G. de H. Smith, 2nd Regiment, Central 
India Horse, attached to Queen's Own Corps of 
Guides (cavalry). 

Lieutenant A. R. Winsloe, R.E. (No. 5 Company 
Queen's Own Sappers and Miners). 


Lieutenant P. C. Eliott-Lockhart, Queen's Own 
Corps of Guides (infantry). 

Surgeon-Captain H. F. Whitchurch, V.C., attended 
to the wounded under fire thoughout the fighting. 

The follomng officers under Colonel T. H. Gold- 
ney's command led their detachments under my 
own observation ^^dth gallantry and judgment, 
viz. : — 

Lieut. -Colonel L. J. E. Bradshaw, 35th Sikhs. 

Captain L. C. H. Stainforth, 38th Dogras. 

Jemadar Nawab, who commanded two guns of 
No. 8 Bengal Mountain Battery in support of 
Colonel Goldney's attack, attracted my favourable 
notice by his smartness, quickness and thorough 
knowledge of his work. 

I would also wish to bring to His Excellency's 
notice the good w^ork done by Major H. Bumey, 
Gordon Highlanders, Assistant Adjutant-General ; 
Major H. Wharry, D.S.O., Chief Commissariat 
Officer, and Captain A. B. Dunster\'ille, ist Battalion 
East Surrey Regiment, my Aide-de-Camp ; the 
only officers of the Divisional Staff of my force 
who had arrived at the Malakand on the 2nd August. 
These officers worked very hard and were of great 
use to me. 

20. Major H. A. Deane, C.S.I., PoHtical Agent, 
Dir and Swat, was not in any way under my orders 
during the operations above described, but notwith- 
standing, I hope I may be permitted to express the 
obhgations under which I lie to him for valuable 
information and general assistance which he gave 


26th July — 2nd August, 1897. 


15. During the fighting above described, the 
conduct of the whole of the garrison, whether 
fighting men, departmental details, or followers, is 
reported to have been most gallant. Not the least 
marked display of courage and constancy was that 
made by the small detachment in the signal tower, 
who were without water for the last eighteen hours 
of the siege. The signallers, under No. 2729, 
Lance-Naik Vir Singh, 45th Sikhs, who set a brilliant 
example, behaved throughout in a most courageous 
manner ; one of them. No. 2829, Sepoy Prem Singh, 
chmbing several times out of a window in the 
tower with a heUograph, and signalHng outside 
to the Malakand under a hot fire from sungars in 
every direction. 

16. I would beg to recommend all the British 
and native officers who took part in the defence 
I have described for the favourable consideration 
of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief as 
under, viz. : — 

Captain H. Wright, nth Bengal Lancers, who, 
with his detachment of forty sabres of his regiment, 


made the gallant ride through the enemj^ from the 
Malakand to Chakdara Fort, on the m.orning of the 
27th July, and commanded the garrison from that 
morning till its rehef on the 2nd August. 

Captain D. Baker, 2nd Bombay Infantry, who 
rode to Chakdara Fort with Captain Wright, and 
made himself most useful. Lieutenant H. B. 
Rattray, 45th Sikhs, who commanded the garrison 
from the commencement of the attack on the 26th 
July tiU the arrival of Captain Wright next day, 
and is reported by that officer to have been the 
Ufe and soul of the defence. 2nd Lieutenant J. L. 
Wheatley, 45th Sikhs, had charge of the gun and 
?,Iaxim detachments, and it was largely o\\ing to 
his care and judgment that these weapons were so 
effective in the defence. 

Lieutenant A. B. Minchin, 25th Punjaub Infantry, 
Assistant PoUtical Agent, was in the fort through- 
out the siege, and was most useful. 

Ressaidar Tilok Singh, nth Bengal Lancers, ac- 
companied Captain Wright in his ride of the 27th 
July, and is very favourably mentioned by that 

Jemadar Sudama commanded the detachment of 
the 2ist Bengal Lancers who were at Chakdara 
Fort on the 26th July, and was present through- 
out the siege, and is also very favourably reported 

Subadar Jwala Singh, 45th Sikhs, was present 
throughout the siege, and showed great intelligence 
and readiness of resource, as well as courage and 
coolness, under fire. 


Jemadar Ala Singh, 45th Sikhs, had command 
of the sections on the parapet of the river fort, 
and showed conspicuous courage and coolness under 
heavy fire. 

Lieutenant Rattray reports that No. 522 Hospital 
Assistant Piara Singh, nth Bengal Lancers, rendered 
valuable assistance, not only in attending the 
wounded under fire, but also in the sortie on the 
2nd, and at other times in bringing up ammunition, 
etc., to the men on the parapets under fire. 

17. I shall further have the honour, in a separate 
communication, to submit, for the favourable con- 
sideration of His Excellency the Commander-in- 
Chief, the names of several non-commissioned 
officers and men who distinguished themselves 
during the siege of Chakdara Fort, in view of their 
being granted the order of merit, should His Excel- 
lency think them deserving of that distinction. 

From Major-General Sir B. Blood, K.C.B., Com- 
manding the Malakand Field Force, to the 
Adjutant-General in India, — No. 5, " De- 
spatches, Malakand Field Force," — dated 2yth 
October, 1897. 

I regret to find that in my report, " Despatches, 
Malakand Field Force," No. 3, of the 20th August, 
1897, I omitted to include the name of Surgeon- 
Captain E. V. Hugo, Indian Medical Service, amongst 
those of the officers recommended to the favourable 
consideration of His Excellency the Commander- 
in-Chief for their services during the recent defence 



of Chakdara Fort. I now have great pleasure in 
stating that Surgeon-Captain Hugo served with 
distinction throughout the defence in question, and 
in recommending him for favourable consideration 


August, 1897. 


32. In concluding this part of my report, I would 
wish to express my admiration of the fine soldierly 
qualities exhibited by all ranks of the special force 
which I led into Upper Swat. They fought the 
action at Landakai in a brilliant manner, working 
over high hills, under a burning sun, with the great- 
est alacrity, and showing everywhere the greatest 
keenness to close with the enemy. They carried 
out admirably the trying duties necessitated by 
marching in hot weather with a transport train of 
more than 2000 mules, and they endured with 
perfect cheerfulness the discomforts of several 
nights' bivouac in heavy rain. The officers of the 
Divisional Staff and of my personal staff who were 
with me,* Brigadier-General W. H. Meiklejohn, C.B., 

* Major H. H. Bumey, Assistant Adjutant-General (Gordon 
Highlanders) ; Lieut. -Colonel A. Masters, Assistant Quarter- 
master-General (2nd Regiment Central India Horse) ; Captain 
H. E. Stanton, Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General, Intelli- 
gence Branch (Royal Artillery) ; Colonel W. Aitken, Colonel on 
the Staff, Royal Artillery ; Captain H. D. Grier, Adjutant, R.A. ; 
Major E. Blunt, Senior Officer of Royal Engineers ; Captain E. 
W. M, Xorie, Superintendent, Army Signalling (Middlesex Regi- 


C.M.G., and his staff, and the several heads of de- 
partments and commanding officers of Divisional 
Troops, all carried out their duties in an entirely 
satisfactory manner. 

Major H. A. Deane, PoHtical Agent, and his 
assistant. Lieutenant A. B. Minchin, gave valuable 
assistance in collecting intelligence and supplies. 

33. While the operations above described were in 
progress, a diversion was made towards the southern 
border of the Buner country from Mardan by the ist 
Reserve Brigade, which, on its headquarters leaving 
Mardan, came under my command as the 3rd 
Brigade, Malakand Field Force. 

34. A force * under Brigadier-General J. Wode- 

ment) ; Captain C. G. F. Edwards, Provost Marshal {5th Punjaub 
Cavalry) ; Captain A. B, Dunsterville, A.D.C. (ist Battalion 
East Surrey Regiment) ; Captain A. R. Dick, Orderly Officer. 
Brigade Staff. — Major E. A. P. Hobday, Deputy Assistant Adju- 
tant-General (Royal Artillery) ; Captain G. F. H. DiUon, Deputy 
Assistant Quartermaster-General (40th Bengal Infantry) ; Captain 
C. H. Beville, Commissariat Transport Department ; Captain J, 
M. Camilleri, in charge of Transport (13th Bengal Infantry) ; Sur- 
geon-Lieut. -Colonel J. T. B. Bookey, I. M.S. ; Lieutenant C. R. 
Gaimt, Orderly Officer, 4th Dragoon Guards. Commanding Offi- 
cers of Divisional Troops. — Lieut. -Colonel R. B. Adams, Queen's 
Own Corps of Guides ; Major C. A. Anderson, loth Field Battery, 
Royal Artillery ; Major M. F. Fegan, No. 7 Moimtain Battery, 
Royal Artillery ; Captain A. H. C. Birch, No. 8 Bengal Mountain 
Battery ; Captain E. P. Johnson, No. 5 Company Queen's Own 
Sappers and Miners. 

* ist Battalion Highland Light Infantry, under Lieut. -Colonel 
R. D. B. Rutherford ; 39th Garhwal Rifles, under Lieut. -Colonel 
B. C. Greaves ; No. 3 Company Bombay Sappers and Miners, 
under Captain C. E. Baddeley, R.E. ; one squadron loth Bengal 
Lancers, under Captain W. L. Maxwell ; two guns No. i Moun- 
tain Battery, Royal Artillery, imder Lieutenant H. L. N. Beynon, 


house, C.B., C.M.G., was concentrated on the 17th 
August at Rustum, eighteen miles north-east of 
Mardan, and about four miles from the Buner border, 
with the object of acting as a containing force, and 
so preventing the sections of the Bunerwals who had 
not already committed themselves against us from 
joining in opposition to our advance into Upper 

35. The presence of this force had the desired 
effect, and Brigadier-General Wodehouse and his 
staff made good use of the time they spent at Rus- 
tum in acquiring valuable information about several 
of the passes in the neighbourhood. 

36. Brigadier-General Wodehouse states that 
throughout the operations of his force, which in- 
volved considerable fatigue and exposure to heat 
and rain, the spirit of his troops left nothing to be 
desired. He makes special mention of the work 
of No. 3 Company Bombay Sappers and Miners, 
under Captain C. E. Baddeley, R.E. He, also re- 
ports very favourably on the assistance given him 
by Lieutenant C. P. Down, Assistant Commissioner, 
and has expressed to me a high opinion of that 
officer's abilities and acquirements, particularly of 
his proficiency in the local vernacular. 



27. The behaviour of the troops throughout this 
tiying day was very good. The steadiness and dis- 
cipHne shown by the ist Battahon of the Buffs, 
under Lieut. -Colonel Ommanney, were admirable, 
while Brigadier-General Jeffreys has specially com- 
mended the gallantry with which the Guides In- 
fantry, under Major Campbell, brought off Captain 
Ryder's detachment of the 35th Sikhs, carrying the 
wounded on their backs under a heavy fire. He 
has further strongly endorsed Major Campbell's 
favourable mention of the courage and judgment 
shown by Captain G. B. Hodson, and Lieutenant 
H. W. Codrington, of the Guides, who commanded 
the companies of the battahon which were chiefly in 
contact with the enemy ; the gaUantr}- of Surgeon- 
Captain J. Fisher, Indian ^ledical Service, who made 
a most determined, though unsuccessful, attempt 
to take medical aid to the wounded of Captain 
Ryder's detachment through a hot fire ; of Surgeon- 
Lieutenant E. L. Perr^', Indian Medical Service ; 
of Jemadar Sikandar Khan of the Guides, and of 


several non-commissioned officers and Sepoys of the 
same corps, regarding whom I have had the honour 
to make a separate communication. 

28. Brigadier-General Jeffreys has also described 
in very favourable terms the gallant and valuable 
work done on this day by Captain Cole and his 
squadron of the nth Bengal Lancers. He has 
commended the conduct of Captain W. L Ryder 
and Lieutenant O. G. Gunning, 35th Sikhs, who 
were both wounded, and of Jemadar Narayan Singh, 
Havildar Ram Singh and Sepoy Karram Singh * of 
the same regiment. He has also brought to notice 
a gallant act of Captain A. H. C. Birch, R.A., com- 
manding No. 8 Bengal Mountain Battery, and his 
trumpeter, Jiwan, in rescuing a wounded Sepoy of 
the 35th Sikhs, as well as the distinguished gallantry 
of Jemadars Nawab and Ishar Singh and several 
non-commissioned officers and men of the same 
battery, in regard to which I have made separate 
communications to you. 

29. Brigadier-General Jeffreys further refers in 
the strongest terms of commendation to the gallant 
conduct of Lieutenants T. C. Watson •\ and J. M. C. 
Colvin, R.E., and of the handful of men of the Buffs 
and No. 4 Company Bengal Sappers and Miners, who 
spent the night of the i6th-i7th with him in the 
village of Bilot. The conduct of these officers and 
men J in entering the village several times in the 

* This man's case has formed the subject of a separate com- 

t Twice wounded in attempting to clear the village. 

t Of whom six were killed and eighteen wounded on this occa- 
sion, out of a total strength of fifty-four. 


dark in face of a heavy fire directed upon them at 
close quarters, seems deserving of the highest recog- 
nition, and I have consequently made a special 
communication to you on the subject. Brigadier- 
General Jeffreys has also commended the gallant 
conduct of his Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General,* 
Major E. O. F. Hamilton, ist Battahon the Queen's 
Royal West Surrey Regiment ; and finally he has 
praised the courage and resolution of Lieutenant 
W. L. S. Churchill, 4th Hussars, the correspondent 
of the Pioneer newspaper with the force, who made 
himself useful at a critical moment. 

* The remainder of Brigadier-General Jeffreys' stag was with 
the main body when it got separated from him. 



58. The commissariat arrangements under Major 
H. Wharry, D.S.O., were most successful. The 
rations were always abundant, and of uniformly 
good quality ; and I may here observe that in five 
previous campaigns I have never seen the supply of 
bread anything hke so continuously good, as it has 
been throughout the operations of the Malakand 
Field Force. No doubt the excellence of the com- 
missariat arrangements has had a great deal to do 
with the good state of health of the troops, which I 
have remarked upon. 

59. The transport was most efficient throughout 
the operations under reference, and its management, 
under the direction of Captain C. G. R. ThackweU, 
Divisional Transport Officer, who was most ably 
and energetically assisted by Veterinary-Captain 
H. T. W. Mann, Senior Veterinary Officer, was 
most successful. In proof of this I will cite a report 
just made to me by Brigadier-General Jeffreys, 
commanding the 2nd Brigade of my force, that this 
morning, on inspecting 1265 mules attached to his 
brigade, which have just returned from seven weeks 


in the field, he found fourteen sore backs, and four 
animals otherwise unfit for work, or a total of only 
eighteen disabled animals in ail. 

60. The medical ser\dce was carried out in a very 
satisfactory manner. Some difficulties arose on the 
transfer of officers and material to the Tirah Ex- 
peditionary Force on its formation, especially as 
large convoys of sick and wounded were on the line 
of this force at the time, but these difficulties were 
successfulty overcome by Colonel A. J. F. Reid, 
commanding the Malakand Brigade, who was in 
charge of the Line, and matters were ultimately 
restored to smooth working on the arrival of Sur- 
geon-Colonel J. C. G. Carmichael, Indian Medical 
Service, who is now Principal Medical Officer of the 

61. The telegraph arrangements were well carried 
out by Lieutenant W. Robertson, R.E., under the 
direction of Mr. C. E. Pitman, CLE. The postal 
service under Mr. H. C. Sheridan was also satis- 

62. The working of the several departments of 
the Headquarters' staff was most satisfactory and 
successful. The heads of departments were : — 

Major H. H. Burney, Gordon Highlanders, Assist- 
ant Adjutant-General. 

Lieutenant-Colonel A. Masters, 2nd Regiment Cen- 
tral India Horse, Assistant Quartermaster-General. 

Captain H. E. Stanton, D.S.O., R.A., Deputy 
Assistant Quartermaster-General (Intelligence). 

Captain E. W. M. Norie, Middlesex Regiment, 
Superintendent, Army SignaUing. 


Surgeon-Colonel J. C. G. Carmichael, Indian Medi- 
cal Service, Principal Medical Officer. 

Lieutenant-Colonel W. Aitken, C.B., R.A., Com- 
manding Royal Artillery. 

Colonel J. E. Broadbent, R.E., Commanding 
Royal Engineers — relieved early in October by 
Lieutenant-Colonel W. Peacocke, C.M.G., R.E. 

Captain W. E. Banbury, 25th Madras Infantry, 
Field Treasure Chest Officer. 

Captain W. W. Cookson, R.A., Ordnance Officer. 

Major H. W^arry, D.S.O., Staff Corps, Chief Com- 
missariat Officer. 

Captain C. G. R. Thackwell, Staff Corps, Divisional 
Transport Officer. 

Veterinary-Captain H. T. W. Mann,* Army Veteri- 
nary Department, Senior Veterinary Officer. 

Captain C. L. Robertson, R.E., Survey Officer. 

Captain C. G. F. Edwards, 5th Punjaub Cavalry, 
Provost Marshal. 

The Rev. L. Klogh, Chaplain. 

Lieutenant W. Robertson, R.E., in charge of Tele- 

63. I am under great obligations to my personal 
staff — Captain A. B. Dunsterville, ist Battalion East 
Surrey Regiment, Aide-de-Camp ; Captain A. R. 
Dick, 2nd Punj aub Cavalry, and Lieutenant Viscount 
Fincastle, i6th (The Queen's) Lancers. 

64. It will have been gathered from the fore- 
going narrative that the three brigades of the 
force were ably commanded by Brigadier-Generals 
W. H. Meiklejolm, C.B., C.M.G., ist Brigade; 

* Wounded in action, 20th September, 1897. 


P. D. Jeffreys,* C.B., 2nd Brigade, and J. H. 
Wodehouse, C.B., C.M.G.,t 3rd Brigade, who were 
efficiently seconded by their staffs. The Line of Com- 
munications and the Base were also most efficiently 
managed by Colonel A. J. F. Reid, Commanding the 
Malakand Brigade, and by Lieut. -Colonel A. V. 
Schalch, nth Bengal Infantry, the Base Com- 
mandant, and their respective staffs. 

65. In my final report on the conclusion of the 
operations of the force, I shall have the honour to 
bring the services of the officers above briefly referred 
to more fully to the notice of His Excellency the 

66. Major H. A. Deane, C.S.I., PoUtical Agent, 
Dir, Chitral and Swat, was in separate and indepen- 
dent charge of the political arrangements connected 
with the operations I have described, as far as Nawa- 
gai. He accompanied my headquarters to Ghosam, 
where I left him on the 12th September, and re- 
joined me at Inayat Kila on the 4th October. He 
gave much assistance in arranging for the collection 
of local suppHes. 

67. Mr. W. S. Davis was my poHtical officer 
throughout the operations be^'ond Nawagai, and in 
the Mamund Valley prior to Major Deane's return 
to my headquarters on the 4th October. He carried 
out his duties to my complete satisfaction. His 
native assistant. Khan Bahadur Ibrahim Kham, 
also made himself very useful. 

* Woiinded in action, i6th September, 1897. 
t Wounded in action, 20th September, 1897. 




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